1Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche “Mario Negri”, Milano
2I Clinica Ostetrico-Ginecologica, Università di Milano
3Servizio di Ecografia, Divisione Ostetrico-Ginecologica, Azienda Ospedaliera di Padova
Key words: Epidemiology, Preterm birth, Determinants
The review describes the main risk factors for prematurity. Preterm birth is the single most important cause of perinatal mortality in North America and Europe. We reviewed the most important determinants related to preterm birth appeared on the more recent literature. Genetic and constitutional, demographic and psychosocial, obstetric and nutritional factors, prenatal care and physical activity, infections and toxic exposures in pregnancy were reviewed. Risk factors for preterm birth that appear reasonably well established include black race, single marital and low socioeconomic status, previous low birth weight or preterm delivery, multiple second trimester spontaneous abortions, in vitro fertilization pregnancy, placental, cervical and uterine anomalies, gestational bleeding, multiple gestations and cigarette smoking.
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