Objective: To estimate recurrence risk of preterm delivery in third births.
Study design: We conducted a population-based cohort study of Missouri mothers who delivered 3 consecutive singleton live births during 1989-1997. The recurrence risk was computed for 4 cohorts based on prior preterm delivery status and adjusted using Mantel-Haenszel stratified analysis.
Results: The study population included 19,025 third births. The recurrence risk ranged from 42% (for women with 2 prior preterm deliveries), through 21% (term/preterm) and 13% (preterm/term), to 5% (term/term). The recurrence risk was highest (57%) for women with 2 prior very preterm deliveries (21-31 weeks) and lowest (33%) for those with 2 prior moderate preterm deliveries (32-36 weeks). The recurrence risk was less pronounced for women with 1 prior very or moderate preterm delivery.
Conclusion: These data show a strong association between prior preterm delivery and recurrence risk, which is affected by the frequency, order, and severity of prior preterm births.