How is the risk for preterm labor assessed?

Updated: May 04, 2021
  • Author: Michael G Ross, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Carl V Smith, MD  more...
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The integrity of the cervix and the extent of any prior injury to the cervix may be assessed by speculum and digital examination. The presence of asymptomatic bacteriuria, sexually transmitted disease (STD), and symptomatic BV may be investigated


A history of prior preterm deliveries places the patient in the high-risk category. Of the predictors of preterm birth, past obstetric history may be one of the strongest predictors of recurrent preterm birth.

Cervical length

A short cervical length in the early or late second trimester has been associated with a markedly increased risk of preterm labor and delivery. In a study, a cervical length of 25 mm or less at 28 weeks had a 49% sensitivity for prediction of preterm delivery at less than 35 weeks. [1]

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