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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Feb;206(2):113-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2011.10.865. Epub 2011 Oct 25.

The preterm birth syndrome: issues to consider in creating a classification system.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


A comprehensive classification system for preterm birth requires expanded gestational boundaries that recognize the early origins of preterm parturition and emphasize fetal maturity over fetal age. Exclusion of stillbirths, pregnancy terminations, and multifetal gestations prevents comprehensive consideration of the potential causes and presentations of preterm birth. Any step in parturition (cervical softening and ripening, decidual-membrane activation, and/or myometrial contractions) may initiate preterm parturition, and should be recorded for every preterm birth, as should the condition of the mother, fetus, newborn, and placenta, before a phenotype is assigned.

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