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J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2005 Jul-Aug;34(4):444-52.

Precursors of preterm birth: comparison of three ethnic groups in the middle East and the United States.

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DNSc, UCLA School of Nursing, 700 Le Conte Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.



To examine factors related to preterm birth in three ethnic groups and in three different countries.


Data were obtained on a convenience sample of 118 Lebanese mothers, 104 Egyptian mothers, 40 Mexican American mothers, and 32 White American mothers from Southern California. About half of each cohort had delivered a preterm newborn and half a full-term newborn. Mothers with premature or full-term newborns completed a questionnaire by interview. Analysis compared ethnic groups and preterm- versus full-term birth groups. Multiple logistic regression determined relatedness to outcome.


Descriptive factors differed among groups, but not for preterm versus full-term newborn groups. Significant factors for premature birth were vaginal infections, stress, smoking, drug use, and protein intake. Factors significantly related to preterm birth in the Middle-Eastern and American groups were almost identical: social support, stress, and exercise. Smoking was related only in the American group.


These data suggest risk factors are similar across nations and ethnic groups. Prenatal counseling and programs should address these four issues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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