Preterm Labor

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Date Submitted: 09/08/2011 09:59 AM

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The Causes and Effects of Preterm Labor and Delivery

Laurie A. Hartlein

Liberty University


Preterm labor (PTL) is a serious public health issue that is difficult to predict and prevent. It creates many risk factors for infants including disabilities and even death. Factors such as bacterial vaginosis and elevated prenatal cortisol are among the symptoms of PTL that physicians carefully observe. Once a baby is delivered preterm, the battle for survival begins. Families of premature babies face stress, heartache, and waiting as they watch their children fight to stay alive. Many children survive with few complications while others struggle a lifetime with disabilities. The following research provides a glimpse into the seriousness of preterm labor and delivery. It also provides information on the latest techniques used for prediction, prevention, and treatment.

Keywords: preterm labor (PTL), prenatal cortisol, preterm delivery, predictors of PTL

The Causes and Effects of Preterm Labor and Delivery

Each year in the United States pregnant women of various ages and races lapse into preterm labor. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 out of 8 babies are born premature (, 2011). Ross (2011) defines preterm labor as uterine contractions and cervix dilation between twenty and twenty-seven weeks. Preterm births create strenuous times for parents and families (, 2011). However, despite modern technology and scientific research, many babies are still born prematurely. Consequently, these premature babies face life-long obstacles as they struggle to adapt and adjust.

Predicting Preterm Labor

Bellad, Dhumale, and Shravage (2009) noted that there are four factors that physicians should observe when trying to predict preterm labor. They include risk factors, fetal fibronectin (FFN), bacterial vaginosis, and cervical length (Bellad, Dhumale, Shravage, 2009). The...