Late preterm birth: how often is it avoidable?

Marium G. Holland, Jerrie S. Refuerzo, Susan M. Ramin, George R. Saade, Sean C. Blackwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Objective: Our objective was to describe indications for late preterm birth (LPTB) and estimate the frequency of potentially avoidable LPTB deliveries. Study Design: Singleton pregnancies delivered between 340/7-366/7 weeks over a 1-year period at a tertiary care medical center were studied. Indications for delivery were categorized as spontaneous (spontaneous preterm birth or premature rupture of membranes) or iatrogenic (elective or medically indicated). Potentially avoidable deliveries were defined as those with elective or medical stable, but high-risk indications. Results: During the study period there were 514 LPTB (spontaneous preterm birth 36.2%, preterm premature rupture of membranes 17.7%, medically indicated 37.9%, and elective 8.2%). Potentially avoidable LPTB accounted for 17% of LPTB and were associated with later gestational age (odds ratio [OR], 4.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.5-8.6), nonfaculty physician status (OR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.5-5.1), and prior cesarean delivery (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.0-2.1). Conclusion: At our institution, <10% of LPTB are purely elective and >80% are clearly unavoidable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404.e1-404.e4
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • elective delivery
  • late preterm birth
  • practice patterns
  • prematurity
  • preterm birth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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