A new study by the World Health Organization released this month reports that preterm birth rates are on the rise around the world. The causes of these premature births and the reasons for their rate increase are multifactorial and location specific. In the US, despite advances in prenatal care, the preterm birth rate is among the highest at 12%, with over half a million babies born premature each year. This study highlights the need to further understand pregnancy and the mechanisms that keep the mother and baby healthy.
Click on the links for a copy of the report from the WHO and an interactive map on the March of Dimes website.
[World Health Organization – Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth]
[March of Dimes – Interactive Map of Preterm Birth Rates]
[New York Times – U.S. Lags in Global Measures of Preterm Birth]
The work of our collaborators in the Kitajewski lab at the Columbia University Medical Center were featured in a news brief for their groundbreaking work on the Anthrax Toxin Receptor 2 (ANTXR2) protein. Their work explores the importance of cervical extracellular matrix maintenance for a healthy labor and birth.
[Columbia University Medical School News]
The New York Times reports the success of a cervical pessary study in The Lancet today. The study claims the pessary device was successful at preventing preterm labor in a cohort of women at high-risk for preterm birth, identified by a ‘short’ cervical length in an ultrasound screening. It is still unclear how the pessary is able to maintain the cervix from dialating prematurely, but the results of this clinical trial are promising and provide evidence that the biomechanical properties of the pelvic region play a role in the progression of labor and cervical dilation.