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What factors contribute to preterm births in the United States?

The average pregnancy should last somewhere around 40 weeks. However, many pregnancies end before that. While there is a range of normal delivery dates for healthy babies, there are many babies in the United States who are born preterm. Preterm births are those births that occur prior to 37 weeks' gestation. If baby is born prior to 34 weeks' gestation, the baby is considered to be born early preterm. Late preterm occurs between 34 and 37 weeks.

It can be dangerous for babies to be born early. Premature babies can suffer from a variety of serious medical issues. Some of these medical issues can be fatal. Therefore, it is important that doctors recognize signs that could lead to a premature birth and take steps to prevent a premature delivery.

There are variety of factors that can influence whether a baby will be born prematurely. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are social and economic factors that contribute to premature births. These include the mother's race and neighborhood, the mother's educational history and socioeconomic status. The mother's BMI, tobacco use, substance-abuse and marriage history can also indicate whether her child is at a higher risk for a premature birth.

Additionally, there are many medical factors that can contribute to a premature birth. These can include incompetent cervix, prior preterm births, congenital abnormalities, bacterial infections and poor pregnancy weight gain. Inflammation, periodontal disease, stress and multiples can also increase a woman's risk for preterm labor.

Doctors in Maryland need to understand and recognize these risk factors in their patients. If the doctor fails to recognize and treat a woman who is at high risk for premature birth, the baby can suffer. When a doctor's negligence leads to birth injuries, patients should understand their legal rights. An attorney can help to explain a family's legal rights when a doctor's negligence has caused harm to a mother or baby.

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