WEDNESDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Even though one in eight
babies in the United States are born preterm each year, most new or
expectant mothers and their doctors don't discuss preterm birth, a
new survey shows.
Conducted by the March of Dimes and BabyCenter, the poll
included more than 1,000 participants, including new or expectant
mothers, mothers who've experienced preterm birth and their
Despite the fact that prior preterm birth is a major risk factor
for delivering another baby prematurely, nearly 40 percent of women
who had a previous preterm delivery were not informed of this by
"If you've had a preterm birth, talk to your doctor because the greatest risk factor for having a preterm baby is if you've already had had one," said Dr. Alan Fleischman, March of Dimes medical director. "Our survey found that a lot of moms don't feel informed about preterm birth's risk factors and potential consequences."
"Early prenatal care, including reviewing medical history and lifestyle habits, is an opportunity to give babies a better chance of a healthy, full-term birth," said Fleischman. "Therefore, having that conversation about preterm birth should take place early enough so the mom-to-be can address any modifiable risk factors, and treat any health conditions that may put her or her baby at increased risk."
The survey also found that more than two-thirds of new and
expectant mothers did not know the correct definition of preterm
birth (less than 37 weeks of completed weeks of gestation), and
one-third weren't able to pinpoint risk factors associated with
Among the other findings:
- Only 15 percent of mothers who had experienced preterm birth
discussed preterm delivery with their doctor before the second
semester, and nearly 40 percent didn't know they were at risk for a
subsequent preterm birth.
- Less than half of new or expectant mothers said they felt very
informed about symptoms of preterm labor, and even fewer felt very
informed about lifelong consequences.
- Among obstetricians/gynecologists, most cited the lack of
preterm birth prevention options as a challenge in broaching the
topic of preterm delivery with patients, and more than half cited
concern about causing undue fear or worry.
The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development has more about
preterm labor and birth.