How is preterm labor defined?

Updated: Dec 17, 2018
  • Author: Michael G Ross, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Carl V Smith, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Preterm labor is defined as the presence of uterine contractions of sufficient frequency and intensity to effect progressive effacement and dilation of the cervix prior to term gestation. Occurring at 20-37 weeks’ gestation, preterm labor precedes almost half of preterm births and is the leading cause of neonatal mortality in the United States.


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