The increasing prevalence of preterm birth in the United States is a complex public health problem that requires multifaceted solutions. Preterm birth is a cluster of problems with a set of overlapping factors of influence. Its causes may include individual-level behavioral and psychosocial factors, sociodemographic and neighborhood characteristics, environmental exposure, medical conditions, infertility treatments, and biological factors. Many of these factors co-occur, particularly in those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged or who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups.
While advances in perinatal and neonatal care have improved survival for preterm infants, those infants who do survive have a greater risk than infants born at term for developmental disabilities, health problems, and poor growth. The birth of a preterm infant can also bring considerable emotional and economic costs to families and have implications for public-sector services, such as health insurance, educational, and other social support systems.
Preterm Birth assesses the problem with respect to both its causes and outcomes. This book addresses the need for research involving clinical, basic, behavioral, and social science disciplines. By defining and addressing the health and economic consequences of premature birth, this book will be of particular interest to health care professionals, public health officials, policy makers, professional associations and clinical, basic, behavioral, and social science researchers.