The Surgeon General’s Conference on the Prevention of Preterm Birth was held on Monday and Tuesday of this week, with goals of increasing awareness of preterm birth, reviewing the evidence on the topic, and creating recommendations for advancing understanding of the causes and risk factors of, and approaches to, preterm labor and delivery.
For background, the CDC estimates that 1 in 8 babies in the United States are born prematurely, and that “being born preterm is the greatest risk factor for infant mortality (death within the first year of life).” The CDC also notes significant racial disparities in preterm birth rates.
The first day of the conference was invitation-only, featuring medical experts who reviewed topics such as factors contributing to preterm birth and the need for additional research. However, video from the first day of the conference is now available for public viewing from the NIH Videocast website. Video from Tuesday will likely be available later.
For further related reading, the conference refers to a 2007 report from the Institute of Medicine, Preterm Birth:Causes, Consequences, and Prevention, which can be read online for free.
A report was expected to be prepared at the end of the conference, but this does not yet seem to be available. I’ll update this post if it becomes available online.
Related: Premature birth has also recently received attention following a study that describes the rising rate of “late preterm” birth, which has occurred primarily among c-section deliveries. The authors note that while some high-risk pregnancies may justify preterm interventions, “obstetric interventions at preterm gestation to reduce risks for the mother and fetus need to be optimally balanced with risks associated with preterm birth.” Further discussion is available via this New York Times article.