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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Feb;206(2):108-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2011.10.864. Epub 2011 Oct 25.

Challenges in defining and classifying the preterm birth syndrome.

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Departments of Pediatrics and of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health, McGill University Faculty of Medicine, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


In 2009, the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth Conference charged the authors to propose a new comprehensive, consistent, and uniform classification system for preterm birth. This first article reviews issues related to measurement of gestational age, clinical vs etiologic phenotypes, inclusion vs exclusion of multifetal and stillborn infants, and separation vs combination of pathways to preterm birth. The second article proposes answers to the questions raised here, and the third demonstrates how the proposed system might work in practice.

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