Premature birth is a serious health problem. Premature babies are at increased risk for newborn medical complications and face an increased risk of lifelong health problems. A premature delivery occurs before a mother has completed her 37th week of pregnancy. In the United States, about 12.8 percent of babies (more than half a million a year) are born prematurely.

The program's high-risk pregnancy specialists educate, evaluate, diagnose and treat women at risk for preterm delivery. Women with one or more of the following conditions may be at increased risk for preterm birth:

  • Prior spontaneous preterm birth (24 to 36 weeks gestation)
  • Prior pregnancy loss (16 to 24 weeks gestation)
  • Multiple gestations (twins or more)
  • History of surgery to the cervix (prior LEEP or cone procedure)
  • Abnormal uterus or congenital Müllerian anomalies (i.e., septated uterus)
  • Other unspecified risk factors

Our services include:

  • Consultations for women who are considering pregnancy or are pregnant and at risk for preterm birth
  • Evaluation and diagnostic services, including cervical length measurement and bacterial infection screening when indicated
  • Care options, such as progesterone or cerclage
  • Education on preventable risk factors for preterm birth
  • Education about the signs and symptoms of preterm labor

In This Section

Prematurity Prevention Program Team

Penn high-risk pregnancy specialists work to keep at-risk mothers and their babies safe and healthy.

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