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Can the risk of premature birth be decreased?

Unfortunately, the majority of babies delivered prematurely are not delivered to women identified as being at increased risk. Researchers are working on identifying those pregnancies well before they present in active preterm labor. Ultrasound evaluation of cervical length in the mid-trimester has promise to identify such women. Decreasing the risk of cervical surgery by immunizing women against human papillomavirus (HPV) and avoiding abnormal Pap smears may significantly impact the preterm delivery rate in years to come. Public education regarding the ill effects of tobacco use in pregnancy, the impact of obesity on pregnancy outcomes and the signs and symptoms of preterm birth may have a further role in decreasing infant prematurity rates.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.