Women's Health: Preterm Birth Risks Seldom Discussed

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Podcast: Women’s Health September 2010

Welcome to this month’s Women’s Health podcast. Our topic is “Preterm Birth Risks Seldom Discussed.”

New or expectant mothers should discuss preterm birth with their doctors. This advice comes from the March of Dimes following a survey it conducted.
Prior preterm birth is a major risk factor for delivering another baby prematurely.
One in eight babies in the US is born preterm each year. And, nearly 40 percent of women who had a previous preterm delivery were not informed of this by their doctors.
Dr. Alan Fleischman, who is the medical director of the March of Dimes, says that a lot of moms don't feel informed about preterm births’ risk factors and potential problems.
Early prenatal care, including looking at medical history and lifestyle habits, is a way to give babies a better chance of a healthy, full-term birth.
The survey included new or expectant mothers, mothers who have had preterm birth, and their obstetricians or gynecologists.
It showed that more than two-thirds of new and expectant mothers didn’t know the correct definition of preterm birth.
Pre-term birth is delivering a baby less than 37 weeks of completed gestation.

Among obstetricians and gynecologists, more than half were concerned about causing undue fear or worry.
Dr. Fleischman concludes that talking about preterm birth should take place early enough so the mom-to-be can address any risk factors and treat any health conditions that may put her or her baby at increased risk.
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