Epidemiology of late and moderate preterm birth

Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2012 Jun;17(3):120-5. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2012.01.007. Epub 2012 Jan 20.


Preterm birth affects 12.5% of all births in the USA. Infants of Black mothers are disproportionately affected, with 1.5 times the risk of preterm birth and 3.4 times the risk of preterm-related mortality. The preterm birth rate has increased by 33% in the last 25 years, almost entirely due to the rise in late preterm births (34-36 weeks' gestation). Recently attention has been given to uncovering the often subtle morbidity and mortality risks associated with moderate (32-33 weeks' gestation) and late preterm delivery, including respiratory, infectious, and neurocognitive complications and infant mortality. This section summarizes the epidemiology of moderate and late preterm birth, case definitions, risk factors, recent trends, and the emerging body of knowledge of morbidity and mortality associated with moderate and late preterm birth.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Gestational Age*
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality / trends*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth / classification
  • Premature Birth / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology