Risk of preterm birth appears to vary by season

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Preterm birth

Women who become pregnant in spring are more vulnerable to preterm birth than those who conceive in other seasons, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh. Results of a large study of such seasonal variation in preterm birth, or birth prior to 37 weeks gestation, are being presented at the 27th annual meeting of the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, being held today through Saturday at the Hilton San Francisco and Towers in California.

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"Preterm birth is a complex condition, and risk factors can change with the seasons," said Lisa Bodnar, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) and a co-author of the study.

Preterm birth affects some 12 percent of pregnancies in the United States, costing an estimated $26 billion, or $52,000 per infant, in medical care and lost productivity in 2005, according to the Institute of Medicine. And a recent study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that preterm birth contributed to more than a third of infant deaths

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