Psychosocial Factors And Preterm Birth

In 1985 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report on low birth weight that concluded that stress was one promising avenue for future research (IOM, 1985). Since then, the findings of many more investigations have been published, as have numerous reviews, partial reviews, and commentaries on this area of research (Istvan, 1986; Lederman, 1986; Lobel, 1994; Kramer et al., 2001; Paarlberg et al., 1995; Savitz and Pastore, 1999). However, existing reviews are outdated because of the burgeoning of papers that have been published since the year 2000. This reflects the high level of scientific interest and public health attention to the topic of psychosocial factors and preterm delivery, especially research on stress and preterm delivery. This section summarizes the scientific findings on stress (including racism as a stressor), social support, and the intendedness of a pregnancy and their relation to the occurrence of preterm delivery.

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