What we have learned about the predictors of preterm birth.

Academic Article


  • The Preterm Prediction Study conducted by the Maternal Fetal Medicine Network between 1993 and 1996 studied a large number of risk factors for preterm birth in more than 3,000 women at 10 centers. The goals of the study were to better understand the strength of one risk factor versus another and to explore interactions among the predictors looking for combinations of factors that were more predictive of preterm birth than any single factor used alone. The most potent factors that were associated with spontaneous preterm birth at < 32 weeks were a positive cervical-vaginal fetal fibronectin test (odds ratio, 32.7) and < l0th percentile cervical length (odds ratio, 5.8), and in serum, > 90th percentiles of alpha-fetoprotein (odds ratio, 8.3) and alkaline phosphatase (odds ratio, 6.8), and > 75th percentile of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (odds ratio, 5.5). Results for spontaneous preterm birth at < 35 weeks were generally similar but not as strong. The overlap among the strongest biologic markers for predicting spontaneous preterm birth was small. This suggests that the use of tests such as maternal alpha-fetoprotein, alkaline phosphatase, and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor as a group or adding their results to fetal fibronectin and cervical length test results may enhance our ability to predict spontaneous preterm birth and that the development of a multiple-marker test for spontaneous preterm birth is feasible.
  • Keywords

  • Alkaline Phosphatase, Biomarkers, Cervix Uteri, Female, Fibronectins, Humans, National Institutes of Health (U.S.), Obstetric Labor, Premature, Predictive Value of Tests, Pregnancy, Prenatal Diagnosis, Risk Factors, United States, alpha-Fetoproteins
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Goldenberg RL; Iams JD; Mercer BM; Meis P; Moawad A; Das A; Copper R; Johnson F; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network
  • Start Page

  • 185
  • End Page

  • 193
  • Volume

  • 27
  • Issue

  • 3