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    Does being a preemie dispose to delivering a preemie?


    A population-based cohort study from Canada suggests that women who were themselves born prematurely may be more likely to have a very preterm or preterm delivery, irrespective of risks associated with hypertension and diabetes.

    Researchers analyzed data on all women who were born preterm (n = 51,148) and term (823,991) in Quebec, Canada, between 1976 and 1995. They frequency matched the two cohorts 1:2 preterm to term to examine the relationship of a history of preterm birth between women and their mothers.

    More: Cerebral palsy diagnosed after preterm delivery

    The study included 7405 women who were born preterm (554 were born before 32 weeks’ gestation and 6851 were born at 32 to 36 weeks’ gestation) and 16,714 women who were born at term. The women born preterm delivered 12,248 newborns and the women born at term delivered 27,879 newborns. Overall, 14.2% of the women born very preterm, 13.0% of the women born preterm, and 9.8% of the women born at term prematurely delivered at least once during the study period; 2.4%, 1.8%, and 1.2%, respectively, delivered very prematurely (both P<.001 for trend).

    After adjusting for variables including own birth weight for gestational age and pregnancy complications, the odds of a preterm first live delivery associated with maternal preterm birth were elevated by 1.63-fold (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.22-2.19) for women born before 32 weeks’ gestation and 1.41-fold (95% CI 1.27-1.57) for women born between 32 and 36 weeks’ gestation, relative to those who born at term.

    NEXT: Genetic worries of low-risk breast cancer patients

    Judith M. Orvos, ELS
    Judith M. Orvos, ELS, is a a BELS-certified medical writer and editor and an editorial consultant for Contemporary OB/GYN.
    Miranda Hester
    Ms. Hester is Content Specialist with Contemporary OB/GYN and Contemporary Pediatrics.

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    • Anonymous
      Similar Data on the heritability of premature birth was published by Ward in 2005. Evolution, I.e. Change in allerlic frequencies, guarantees that our ability to keep less fit but heritable phenotypes alive will increase the frequency of those phenotypes. Our prematurity rate will increase as we improve care for premies. Similarly, our ability to do cesarean sections will improve survival for big headed babies and women with small pelvises, thus driving an increased need for section births. See an article titled "Evolution and the Cesarean Section Rate" from 2008.


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