There are many factors that are associated with preterm labor and delivery. These include maternal conditions such as medical illness, anemia and uterine malformation. They may be related to past events such as prior obstetric complication, previous preterm labor, cervical surgery or induced abortion. They may be intrinsic to the current pregnancy, such as reproductive tract infection, multifetal gestation, maternal age, short interpregnancy interval or prolonged menstrual conception interval. Maternal behaviors such as smoking and substance abuse can be risk factors for a short gestation. Demographic variables such as race, employment and socioeconomic status can also be associated with preterm labor. This article briefly reviews these subjects. © 2001 by W.B. Saunders Company.
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