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Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 1998 Apr;10(2):151-6.

Preterm labour: recent advances in understanding of pathophysiology, diagnosis and management.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St. Joseph's Health Centre, London, Ontario, Canada.


Recent advances in the importance of sociodemographic factors, including maternal stress, as well as potential predictors of preterm birth are reviewed. The recommended role of adjunctive antibiotic therapy, in women with preterm premature rupture of the membranes but not in women with intact membranes, is discussed. The possibility of causes other than those related to infection in preterm rupture of the membranes is raised, and new information regarding the use of glucocorticoids and tocolytics is presented. Despite steady improvements in neonatal survival and morbidity rates over the past decade primarily as a result of improved neonatal care, there has been no corresponding decrease in the incidence of preterm birth. An improved understanding of the pathophysiology and diagnosis of preterm birth remains one of the greatest challenges in obstetric care in this decade.

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