A Perinatal Pathology View of Preterm Labor

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Ultimately, algorithms that combine sociodemographic factors, clinical and ultrasonographic findings, biochemical markers, and a reasonable understanding of the pathophysiology of the mechanisms of preterm labor will be required if any progress is to be made in improving the rates of preterm delivery and consequent perinatal morbidity and mortality. Until the pathophysiology of prematurity is better understood, effective methods of prevention or appropriate intervention will continue to elude clinicians. In cases of vascular complications, diagnostic and therapeutic research should be directed at subclinical manifestations of the underlying pathologic mechanisms so as to prevent reaching a critical threshold at which labor is initiated. Care must continue to be taken, however, not to prolong pregnancies in which the uterine environment is no longer able to support the appropriate growth and/or survival of the fetus.


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