Objectives. To assess obstetrician-gynecologists' knowledge of preterm birth, including prevalence, risk factors, and utility of various tests in predicting increased risk. Methods. A questionnaire was mailed to 1193 members of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Results. The response rate was 59%. The majority of respondents were familiar with basic preterm birth prevalence rates. However, 21% underestimated the proportion of women with presumptive preterm labor in whom preterm birth will not occur. The majority (55%) overestimated the proportion of preterm births accounted for by multiples. Twelve percent indicated bed rest as a proven method for improving newborn outcome. Respondents were fairly accurate as to which factors produce the biggest increased risk of spontaneous preterm labor or rupture of membranes; however, they tended to overestimate the risk associated with smoking, hypertension, and non-gestational diabetes. They tended to underestimate, or were unsure of, the predictive value of positive fetal fibronectin (fFN) test results or short cervical length. Conclusions. Obstetrician-gynecologists' basic knowledge concerning preterm birth prevalence and risk factors was adequate. However, they tended to overestimate the risk associated with various maternal factors and underestimate the predictive value of various test results.
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