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Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2008 Jul;22(4):350-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3016.2008.00934.x.

Associated factors and consequences of late preterm births: results from the 2004 Pelotas birth cohort.

Author information

1
Pós-graduação em Epidemiologia, Universidade Federal de Pelotas (UFPel), Pelotas, Brazil. inasantos@uol.com.br

Abstract

Although neonatal and infant mortality rates have fallen in recent decades in Brazil, the prevalence of preterm deliveries has increased in certain regions, especially in the number of late preterm births. This study was planned to investigate: (1) maternal antenatal characteristics associated with late preterm births and (2) the consequences of late preterm birth on infant health in the neonatal period and until age 3 months. A population-based birth cohort was enrolled in Pelotas, Southern Brazil, in 2004. Mothers were interviewed and the gestational age of newborns was estimated through last menstrual period, ultrasound and Dubowitz's method. Preterm births between 34 and 36 completed weeks of gestational age were classified as late preterm births. Only singleton live births from mothers living in the urban area of Pelotas were investigated. Three months after birth, mothers were interviewed at home regarding breast feeding, morbidity and hospital admissions. All deaths occurring in the first year of life were recorded. A total of 447 newborns (10.8%) were late preterms. Associations were observed with maternal age <20 years (prevalence ratio [PR] 1.3 [95% CI 1.1, 1.6]), absence of antenatal care (PR 2.4 [1.4, 4.2]) or less than seven prenatal care visits, arterial hypertension (PR 1.3 [1.0, 1.5]), and preterm labour (PR 1.6 [1.3, 1.9]). Compared with term births, late preterm births showed increased risk of depression at birth (Relative risk [RR] 1.7 [1.3, 2.2]), perinatal morbidity (RR 2.8 [2.3, 3.5]), and absence of breast feeding in the first hours after birth (PR 0.9 [0.8, 0.9]). RRs for neonatal and infant mortality were, respectively, 5.1 [1.7, 14.9] and 2.1 [1.0, 4.6] times higher than that observed among term newborns. In conclusion, in our setting, the prevention of all preterm births must be a priority, regardless of whether early or late.

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