A questionnaire assessing physicians' understanding of the prognosis of preterm newborns was sent to every pediatrician, obstetrician, family practitioner, and general practitioner in South Dakota. Fifty-three percent of the total sample completed and returned the questionnaire that covered the mortality, general care, and physical, developmental, and psychosocial morbidity of the preterm newborn. The average physician answered 75% of all items with responses consistent with our interpretation of the medical literature. The physicians did better on items concerning mortality and physical morbidity than on those items related to psychosocial or developmental morbidity. Stepwise multiple regression analysis showed that a physician's years of experience was the most significant predictive variable and was negatively related to his or her overall score.