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Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Aug;128(2):364-72. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000001506.

Recurrence of Preterm Birth and Early Term Birth.

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Genetic Disease Screening Program, California Department of Public Health, Richmond, the Departments of Pediatrics, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, and University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine, Los Angeles, the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, and the Departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences and Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Preterm Birth Initiative-California, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, San Francisco, California; the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; the Center for Prevention of Preterm Birth, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; and the Department of Epidemiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.



To examine recurrent preterm birth and early term birth in women's initial and immediately subsequent pregnancies.


This retrospective cohort study included 163,889 women who delivered their first and second liveborn singleton neonates between 20 and 44 weeks of gestation in California from 2005 through 2011. Data from hospital discharge records and birth certificates were used for analyses. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using logistic regression models adjusted for risk factors.


Shorter gestational duration in the first pregnancy increased the risk of subsequent preterm birth (both early, before 32 weeks of gestation, and later, from 32 to 36 weeks of gestation) as well as early term birth (37-38 weeks of gestation). Compared with women with a prior term birth, women with a prior early preterm birth (before 32 weeks of gestation) were at the highest risk for a subsequent early preterm birth (58/935 [6.2%] compared with 367/118,505 [0.3%], adjusted OR 23.3, 95% CI 17.2-31.7). Women with a prior early term birth had more than a twofold increased risk for subsequent preterm birth (before 32 weeks of gestation: 171/36,017 [0.5%], adjusted OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.6-2.3; from 32 to 36 weeks of gestation: 2,086/36,017 [6.8%], adjusted OR 3.0, 95% CI 2.9-3.2) or early term birth (13,582/36,017 [37.7%], adjusted OR 2.2, 95% CI 2.2-2.3).


Both preterm birth and early term birth are associated with these outcomes in a subsequent pregnancy. Increased clinical attention and research efforts may benefit from a focus on women with a prior early term birth as well as those with prior preterm birth.

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