Clinical evaluation of preterm labor

A. Diagnosis of preterm labor is based upon the presence of regular, painful uterine contractions accompanied by cervical dilation and/or effacement that occurs before 37 weeks of gestation. Criteria include persistent uterine contractions (four every 20 minutes or eight every 60 minutes) with documented cervical change or cervical effacement of at least 80 percent, or cervical dilatation greater than 1 cm.

B. Women with a history of previous preterm delivery carry the highest risk of recurrence, estimated to be between 17 and 37 percent.

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