The preterm birth syndrome: Issues to consider in creating a classification system

Robert L. Goldenberg, Michael G. Gravett, Jay Iams, Aris T. Papageorghiou, Sarah A. Waller, Michael Kramer, Jennifer Culhane, Fernando Barros, Augustin Conde-Agudelo, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Hannah E. Knight, Jose Villar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Citations (Scopus)


A comprehensive classification system for preterm birth requires expanded gestational boundaries that recognize the early origins of preterm parturition and emphasize fetal maturity over fetal age. Exclusion of stillbirths, pregnancy terminations, and multifetal gestations prevents comprehensive consideration of the potential causes and presentations of preterm birth. Any step in parturition (cervical softening and ripening, decidual-membrane activation, and/or myometrial contractions) may initiate preterm parturition, and should be recorded for every preterm birth, as should the condition of the mother, fetus, newborn, and placenta, before a phenotype is assigned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-118
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • classification
  • phenotype
  • preterm birth


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