Preterm labor has remained one of the most enigmatic challenges in the field of perinatal medicine.
Globally, preterm birth impacts approximately 1.3 million people. Within the United States, it complicates roughly nine percent of all births; in some urban demographics, this figure approaches 18 percent.
While technological advances have improved outcomes in preterm infants, prematurity is still the most common underlying cause of perinatal and infant morbidity and mortality. Surviving neonates potentially experience lifelong consequences involving gastrointestinal, respiratory, neurodevelopmental and other co-morbidities.
The preterm birth of an infant brings considerable emotional and economic issues for families; additionally there exists marked implications for public sector services, such as health insurance, educational and other social support systems. The annual societal economic burden associated with preterm birth in the United States runs in the billions of dollars.