Challenges in defining and classifying the preterm birth syndrome

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Feb;206(2):108-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2011.10.864. Epub 2011 Oct 25.


In 2009, the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth Conference charged the authors to propose a new comprehensive, consistent, and uniform classification system for preterm birth. This first article reviews issues related to measurement of gestational age, clinical vs etiologic phenotypes, inclusion vs exclusion of multifetal and stillborn infants, and separation vs combination of pathways to preterm birth. The second article proposes answers to the questions raised here, and the third demonstrates how the proposed system might work in practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth / classification
  • Premature Birth / diagnosis*
  • Premature Birth / prevention & control