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Type: Journal article
Title: Born too soon: care before and between pregnancy to prevent preterm births: from evidence to action
Author: Dean, S.V.
Mason, E.M.
Howson, C.P.
Lassi, Z.S.
Imam, A.M.
Bhutta, Z.A.
Citation: Reproductive Health, 2013; 10(Suppl. 1):S3-1-S3-16
Publisher: BioMed Central
Issue Date: 2013
ISSN: 1742-4755
Statement of
Sohni V Dean, Elizabeth Mary Mason, Christopher P Howson, Zohra S Lassi, Ayesha M Imam, and Zulfiqar A Bhutta
Abstract: Providing care to adolescent girls and women before and between pregnancies improves their own health and wellbeing, as well as pregnancy and newborn outcomes, and can also reduce the rates of preterm birth. This paper has reviewed the evidence based interventions and services for preventing preterm births; reported the findings from research priority exercise; and prescribed actions for taking this call further. Certain factors in the preconception period have been shown to increase the risk for prematurity and, therefore, preconception care services for all women of reproductive age should address these risk factors through preventing adolescent pregnancy, preventing unintended pregnancies, promoting optimal birth spacing, optimizing pre-pregnancy weight and nutritional status (including a folic acid containing multivitamin supplement, and ensuring that all adolescent girls have received complete vaccination. Preconception care must also address risk factors that may be applicable to only some women. These include screening for and management of chronic diseases, especially diabetes; sexually-transmitted infections; tobacco and smoke exposure; mental health disorders, notably depression; and intimate partner violence. The approach to research in preconception care to prevent preterm births should include a cycle of development and delivery research that evaluates how best to scale up coverage of existing, evidence-based interventions, epidemiologic research that assesses the impact of implementing these interventions, and discovery science that better elucidates the complex causal pathway of preterm birth and helps to develop new screening and intervention tools. In addition to research, policy and financial investment is crucial to increasing opportunities to implement preconception care, and rates of prematurity should be included as a tracking indicator in global and national maternal child health assessments.
Keywords: Humans
Premature Birth
Pregnancy Outcome
Preconception Care
Birth Intervals
Maternal Welfare
Infant, Newborn
Infant, Premature
Global Health
Description: This article is part of the supplement: Born too soon
Rights: © 2013 Dean et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
DOI: 10.1186/1742-4755-10-S1-S3
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 3
Paediatrics publications

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