A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to have
with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of having preterm labor. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Non-white women under the 18 years or over 35 years have an increased risk of preterm labor. Other factors that may increase your risk include:
Current and past pregnancy: A previous preterm birthPre-eclampsiaPlacental abruptionPremature rupture of the membranesCarrying more than one babyVaginal bleeding after 16 weeks, or during more than one trimester
Being pregnant with a single fetus after
in vitro fertilization (IVF)Less than six months between giving birth and the beginning of the next pregnancyPresence of a retained intrauterine deviceHistory of one or more spontaneous second-trimester abortionsToo much or too little fluid in the amniotic sac surrounding the babySurgery on your abdomen during pregnancy
Fetal causes: Intrauterine fetal deathIntrauterine growth delayBirth defects in the baby
Risky behaviors: SmokingIllicit drug useAlcohol use
History of reproductive organ problems: Uterine fibroidsAbnormally shaped uterusIncompetent cervix—The cervix dilates too early in the pregnancyInfection in the cervix, uterus, or vaginaAmniotic fluid infectionUrinary tract infectionsSexually transmitted diseasesExposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES)—Before its dangers were known, DES was given to pregnant women to decrease the risk of miscarriage; if your mother took DES while she was pregnant with you, your reproductive organs may be damaged. DES has not been used since the 1970s.
Social causes: Low socioeconomic statusLack of prenatal care
Physical and psychological causes:
Being underweight or
prior to pregnancy
A previous bariatric surgery Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
anxietyDiabetesHigh blood pressureClotting disordersHormonal imbalanceCertain medications
7/21/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Kramer MS, Lydon J, Séguin L, et al. Stress pathways to spontaneous preterm birth: the role of stressors, psychological distress, and stress hormones.
Am J Epidemiol.
1/22/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Calderon-Margalit R, Qiu C, Ornoy A, Siscovick DS, Williams MA. Risk of preterm delivery and other adverse perinatal outcomes in relation to maternal use of psychotropic medications during pregnancy.
Am J Obstet Gynecol.
8/23/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: McDonald SD, Han Z, Mulla S, Beyene J; Knowledge Synthesis Group. Overweight and obesity in mothers and risk of preterm birth and low birth weight infants: systematic review and meta-analyses.
11/19/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Roos N, Neovius M, et al. Perinatal outcomes after bariatric surgery: nationwide population based matched cohort study. BMJ. 2013;347:f6460.
4/29/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Huybrechts KF, Sanghani RS, et al. Preterm birth and antidepressant medication use during pregnancy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2014 Mar 26;9(3):e92778.
Last reviewed June 2013 by Andrea Chisholm
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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