Risk Factors for Preterm Labor and Delivery
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to have preterm labor with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of having preterm labor. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Non-white women under the 18 years or over 35 years have an increased risk of preterm labor. Other factors that may increase your risk include:
Current and past pregnancy:
History of reproductive organ problems:
Physical and psychological causes:
Prematurity. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated April 18, 2013 . Accessed April 23, 2013.
Preterm labor. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.or... . Accessed April 23, 2013.
Preterm labor. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated March 15, 2013 . Accessed April 23, 2013.
Preterm labor and birth. March of Dimes website. Available at: http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/preterm_indepth.html. Updated September 2012. Accessed April 23, 2013.
Who is at risk for preterm labor and birth? National Institute of Child Health & Human Development website. Available at: http://www.nichd.n.... Updated November 30, 2012. Accessed April 23, 2013.
7/21/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Kramer MS, Lydon J, Séguin L, et al. Stress pathways to spontaneous preterm birth: the role of stressors, psychological distress, and stress hormones. Am J Epidemiol. 2009;169:1319-1326.
1/22/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Calderon-Margalit R, Qiu C, Ornoy A, Siscovick DS, Williams MA. Risk of preterm delivery and other adverse perinatal outcomes in relation to maternal use of psychotropic medications during pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009;201(6):579.e1-8.
8/23/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: McDonald SD, Han Z, Mulla S, Beyene J; Knowledge Synthesis Group. Overweight and obesity in mothers and risk of preterm birth and low birth weight infants: systematic review and meta-analyses. BMJ. 2010;341:c3428.
Last reviewed April 2013 by Andrea Chisholm; Brian Randall, MD