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Preterm birth (PTB) is a complex syndrome traditionally defined by a single parameter, namely, gestational age at birth (ie, ˂37 weeks). This approach has limitations for clinical usefulness and may explain the lack of progress in identifying cause-specific effective interventions. The authors offer a framework for a functional taxonomy of PTB based on (1) conceptual principles established a priori; (2) known etiologic factors; (3) specific, prospectively identified obstetric and neonatal clinical phenotypes; and (4) postnatal follow-up of growth and development up to 2 years of age. This taxonomy includes maternal, placental, and fetal conditions routinely recorded in data collection systems.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Perinatol

Publication Date





475 - 495


Etiology, PPROM, Phenotype, Preterm birth, Preterm labor, Preterm prelabor rupture of membranes, Taxonomy, Humans, Premature Birth, Female, Pregnancy, Infant, Newborn, Gestational Age, Infant, Premature, Syndrome, Risk Factors, Fetal Membranes, Premature Rupture