Women who have delivered an infant between 16 and 36 weeks' gestation have an increased risk of preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies. The risk increases with more than 1 preterm birth and is inversely proportional to the gestational age of the previous preterm birth. African American women have rates of recurrent preterm birth that are nearly twice that of women of other backgrounds. An approximate risk of recurrent preterm birth can be estimated by a comprehensive reproductive history, with emphasis on maternal race, the number and gestational age of prior births, and the sequence of events preceding the index preterm birth. Interventions including smoking cessation, eradication of asymptomatic bacteriuria, progestational agents, and cervical cerclage can reduce the risk of recurrent preterm birth when employed appropriately.
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