Mini Review - Journal of Labor and Childbirth (2023) Volume 6, Issue 4

Effect of Preterm Birth in Public Health

Brando Backs*

Department of Gynecology, University of Plymouth, UK

*Corresponding Author:
Brando Backs
Department of Gynecology, University of Plymouth, UK

Received: 1-Aug-2023, Manuscript No. jlcb-23-110519; Editor assigned: 3-Aug-2023, Pre QC No. jlcb-23- 110519(PQ); Reviewed: 17-Aug-2023, QC No. jlcb-23-110519; Revised: 21-Aug-2023, Manuscript No. jlcb-23- 110519(R); Published: 31-Aug-2023; DOI: 10.37532/jlcb.2023.6(4).112-114


Over the past few decades, survival rates for infants born very preterm (less than 32 weeks gestation) have significantly increased thanks to advancements in perinatal care and technology. However, for infants born very preterm, negative medical and neurodevelopmental outcomes are still common, especially at the youngest gestational ages. The improvement of the health of women of reproductive age before, during, and after pregnancy is one way that public health plays a crucial role in providing data to assess population-based hazards associated with extremely preterm delivery, address inequities, and find possibilities for prevention.


Neurodevelopmental outcomes • Reproductive age • Extremely preterm delivery • Youngest gestational ages


Infants born very preterm (less than 32 weeks gestation) are more likely to die, experience medical issues, and experience long-term neurological effects. Preterm birth is defined by the World Health Organisations as beginning before 37 weeks of pregnancy, with extremely preterm birth and extreme preterm birth (starting at 28 weeks of pregnancy) as subcategories. Around 15 million premature babies were born in the world in 2013, which equates to more than one in ten infants. Among them, 1 million kids under the age of 5 pass away every year as a result of preterm birth-related issues. Extreme preterm birth and very preterm birth are harder to measure, and mortality rates are particularly high in developing nations. According to the last menstrual period, the prevalence of preterm births in the United States grew from 10.6% in 1990 to a high of 12.8% of all live births in 2006 and 12.7% in 2007. A spike in late preterm births was the main factor causing these increases. The National Centre for Health Statistics changed this measure of pregnancy length from last menstrual period to obstetric estimate based on improved measures to increase the accuracy of gestational age.6 Preterm birth rates were then modified in accordance with obstetric estimates. According to obstetric estimates, the rate of preterm delivery dropped from 10.4% of all births in 2007 to 9.6% in 2014 [1].

More than 60,000 babies are born preterm each year, although the rates in the United States have remained relatively stable throughout time. Extreme preterm births accounted for 0.67% of live births and 45% of infant deaths in 2015, whereas extremely preterm births made up about 1.6% of live births but were linked to 52% of baby deaths in the United States. One factor contributing to the sluggish and uneven declines in infant mortality may be the stability in the distribution of very preterm births. In fact, a study by Callaghan and colleagues12 revealed that while infant mortality rates decreased from 2007 to 2014, the distribution of extremely preterm birth weight did not, and birth weightspecific mortality rates for these tiny infants continued to rise [2].

Morbidity, neurodevelopmental after effects and mortality

Worldwide, views of viability and the availability of resources for obstetric and neonatal care affect the survival of infants born very preterm. While survival at these gestational ages is uncommon in impoverished nations, preterm survival at the earliest gestational ages has significantly improved in industrialized nations where the limit of viability has been stretched to 22 to 23 weeks gestation. A number of factors, such as improved insurance coverage during pregnancy, advanced obstetric and antenatal care, and improved risk-appropriate care systems, such as resuscitation and stabilization of high-risk newborns, have improved the survival of very preterm infants in developed countries. The United States placed second behind 11 European nations in a comparison of developed nations in 2010 for gestational age-specific survival at the earliest gestation [3, 4].

Preventive measures

Pre-pregnancy health of mother

Preterm birth is linked to behavioural factors like tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use, which are typically started before pregnancy. Numerous chronic diseases, including those that influence the health of the mother and foetus, like obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, increase the chance of premature birth. Because mothers are more likely to be older and to have a chronic medical condition, changes in the average maternal age at delivery in the United States have also raised the chance of premature birth. Regardless of age, a strong surveillance system is necessary to evaluate preconception behaviours and access to insurance, primary care, and preventive services in order to improve the health of women before pregnancy and decrease disparities in premature delivery [5].

Improving pregnancy spacing

Nearly 75 percent of teenage births in the United States are unplanned, and 45 percent of pregnancies are. Increased preterm birth is linked to unintended pregnancies and short inter pregnancy intervals (a second delivery within 18 months).46 Preterm birth chances are increased by 17% in teen pregnancies, and teenage mothers are more likely to have frequent pregnancies with short inter pregnancy intervals. The number of live births among 15 to 19-year-olds in the US has decreased by 51% since 2007 (to 20.3 per 1000 women in 201610), but measures to prevent teenage pregnancies must still be made, especially in communities of African Americans and Hispanics where the rates of both are highest [6].

Uplifting the environment of system care

Seventy-two percent or slightly more of US women (77.2%) started prenatal treatment in the first trimester in 2016. However, compared to 82.3% of white women and 80.6% of Asian women, only 66.6% of black women and 63.0% of American Indian or Alaska Native women started first trimester prenatal care. Less than one in ten (6.2%) US women received either inadequate or no prenatal care, starting in the third trimester. Innovative types of group prenatal care show potential in lowering the risk of premature birth. However, a recent meta-analysis revealed that group prenatal care participants and standard prenatal care models experienced comparable rates of premature birth [7, 8].

Social determinants of health

Preterm infants living in families with poor socioeconomic level tended to score lower on cognitive tests at ages 3, 5, and 7 compared to term children, according to a study of preterm newborns in the United Kingdom. However, the researchers also discovered that there was little to no evidence of impact modification and that the effects of poor socioeconomic position and preterm birth were cumulative. Additionally, they discovered that term children living in households experiencing poverty had lower cognitive scores than preterm children who were not living in poor families since the size of the estimated effect of poverty was so great. Social determinants of health, or the elements that have an impact on health based on where a person lives, learns, works, and ages [9, 10].


A major concern for worldwide public health is preterm birth. With decreases in infant mortality, developed countries have seen substantial improvements in the survival of very preterm infants. The proportion of very preterm infants born in the United States has not changed significantly over the past few decades, despite rising overall preterm birth rates in the country. The complicated problem of early preterm birth and related racial/ethnic inequities must be addressed in order to continue decreasing infant mortality and associated medical and neurodevelopmental handicap. Public health strategies can enhance population-based statistics and pinpoint effective treatments that have an influence on women’s health before, during, and after pregnancy as well as lower infant mortality and impairment.


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