Find out by taking our simple quiz!
First, read this new story from Time magazine. It describes a new drug regimen for preventing cerebral palsy, a condition that is strongly associated with pre-term birth.
Next, read through the articles linked here: why are pre-term births, and the cerebral palsy associated with them, considered news fit for Time magazine? Why, because the rate of pre-term births has skyrocketed over 30% since 1981! The rate has increased more than 20% since 1990, and now stands at 12.8% of all births.
Note the sentence in the first article: As the rate of pre-term births rise, so does the rate of "cerebral palsy, mental retardation, chronic lung disease, and vision and hearing loss." The cost of pre-term births is estimated to be 26 billion dollars, with average medical costs 10 times greater than that for a normal birth.
So, are you ready for our quiz?
Here it is! (drum roll please)
What is the number one cause of pre-term birth?
Hmmm... There's a puzzler.
Time magazine is silent on that issue.
The March of Dimes, which supports embryonic stem cell research, fetal tissue research and abortion, also seems to be at a complete loss, although - thank God - they are spending millions of dollars to try and figure it out.
But don't worry!
Here's where YOU can find out if you are qualified to be a real research scientist!
Read any one of the thirty-eight studies listed below, either alone or in combination, and see if YOU can figure out what might be causing the rise in premature births (HINT: the first study is the best, as it shows how undergoing a simple, safe and legal medical procedure can increase your risk of subsequent pre-term birth by a whopping 1155%).
- Zhou W, Sorenson HT, Olsen H. Induced Abortion and Subsequent Pregnancy Duration. Obstetrics & Gynecology 1999;94:948-953
- Berkowitz GS. An Epidemiologic Study of Preterm Delivery. American J Epidemiology 1981;113:81-92
- Lang JM, Lieberman E, Cohen A. A Comparison of Risk Factors for Preterm Labor and Term Small-for-Gestational-Age Birth. Epidemiology 1996;7:369-376
- Lieberman E, Ryan KJ, Monson RR, Schoenbaum SC. Risk Factors Accounting For Racial Differences in the rate of premature birth. NEJM 1987;317:743-748
- * Hillier SL, Nugent RP, Eschenbach DA, Krohn MA, et al. Association Between Bacterial Vaginosis And Preterm Delivery Of A Low-Birth-Weight Infant. NEJM 1995;333:1737-1742
- Schoenbaum LS, Monson RR. No association between coffee consumption and adverse outcomes of pregnancy. NEJM 1982;306:141-145
- Mueller-Heubach E, Guzick DS. Evaluation of risk scoring in a preterm birth prevention study of indigent patients. Am J Obstetrics & Gyn 1989;160:829-837
- Shiono PH, Lebanoff MA. Ethnic Differences and Very Preterm Delivery. Am J Public Health 1986;76:1317-1321
- Pantelakis SN, Papadimitriou GC, Doxiadis SA. Influence of induced and spontaneous abortions on the outcome of subsequent pregnancies. Amer J Obstet Gynecol. 1973;116:799-805
- Lumley J. The association between prior spontaneous abortion, prior induced abortion and preterm birth in first singleton births. Prenat Neonat Med 1998;3:21-24.
- Van Der Slikke JW, Treffers PE. Influence of induced abortion on gestational duration in subsequent pregnancies. BMJ 1978;1:270-272 [>95% confident of preterm risk for gestation less than 32 weeks]
- Richardson JA, Dixon G. Effect of legal termination on subsequent pregnancy. British Med J 1976;1:1303-1304
- Pickering RM, Deeks JJ. Risks of Delivery during 20th to the 36th Week of Gestation. Intl. J Epidemiology 1991;20:456-466
- Koller O, Eikhom SN. Late Sequelae of Induced Abortion in Primigravidae. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 1977;56:311-317
- Papaevangelou G, Vrettos AS, Papadatos D, Alexiou C. The Effect of Spontaneous and Induced Abortion on Prematurity and Birthweight. The J Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the British Commonwealth. May 1973;80:418-422
- Bognar Z, Czeizel A. Mortality and Morbidity Associated with Legal Abortions in Hungary, 1960-1973. AJPH 1976;66:568-575
- Martius JA, Steck T, Oehler MK, Wulf K-H. Risk factors associated with preterm (<37+0>European J Obstetrics & Gynecology Reproductive Biology 1998;80:183-189
- Vasso L-K, Chryssa T-B, Golding J. Previous obstetric history and subsequent preterm delivery in Greece. European J Obstetrics & Gynecology Reproductive Biology 1990;37:99-109
- * Ancel P-V, Saurel-Cubizolles M-J, Renzo GCD, Papiernik E, Breart G. Very and moderate preterm births: are the risk factors different? British J Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1999;106:1162-1170
- Lumley J. The epidemiology of preterm birth. Bailliere's Clin Obstet Gynecology. 1993;7(3):477-498
- * Michielutte R, Ernest JM, Moore ML, Meis PJ, Sharp PC, Wells HB, Buescher PA. A Comparison of Risk Assessment Models for Term and Preterm Low Birthweight. Preventive Medicine 1992;21:98-109
- Grindel B, Lubinski H, Voigt M. Induced abortion in primigravidae and subsequent pregnancy, with particular attention of underweight. Zentralbl Gynaekol 1979;101:1009-1114
- Kreibich H, Ludwig A. Early and late complications of abortion in juvenile primigravidae (including recommended measures). Z Aerztl Fortbild (Jena) 1980;74:311-316
- Zwahr C, Voigt M, Kunz L, et al. Relationships between interruption abortion, and premature birth and low birth weight. Zentrabl Gynaekol 1980;102: 738-747
- Pickering RM, Forbes J. Risk of preterm delivery and small-for-gestational age infants following abortion: a population study. British J Obstetrics and Gynecology 1985;92:1106-1112
- Muhlemann K, Germain M, Krohn M. Does an Abortion Increase the Risk of Intrapartum Infection in the Following Pregnancy? Epidemiology 1996;7:194-198
- Daling JR, Krohn MA, Miscarriage or Termination in the Immediately Preceding Pregnancy Increases the Risk of Intraamniotic Infection in the Following Pregnancy. American J Epi 1992;136:1013 [SER Abstracts]
- Prof. Barbara Luke. Every Pregnant Woman's Guide to Preventing Premature Birth (1995) [forward by Emile Papiernik], New York: Times Books
- Gersh ES. Children with Cerebral Palsy 1998; chapter 1:page 14; DD: 618.92836 C53G1, ISBN: 0933149824
- Paroah POD. Cerebral Palsy and perinatal care. British J Obstetrics Gynaecology 1995;102:356-358
- Pediatrics 1985;76:154-158
- Escobar GJ, Littenberg B, Petitti DB. Outcome among surviving very low birthweight infants; a meta-analysis. Arch Dis Child 1991;66:204-211
- Wright CSW, Campbell S, Beazley J. Second-Trimester Abortion After Vaginal Termination Of Pregnancy. Lancet 1972 [June 10]:1278-1279
- Rooney B. Racism, Poverty, Abortion, and Other Reproductive Outcomes. Epidemiology 2000;11:740-741
- Rooney B. Having an induced abortion increases risk in future pregnancies. British Medical J 2001;322:430
- Potts M. Legal Abortion in Eastern Europe. enics Review7;59:232-250
- Obel E, et al. Pregnancy Complications Following Lgally Induced Abortion With Special Reference to Abortion Technique. a Obstet Gynecol Scand 1979;58:147-152
- Levin A, Schoenbaum S, Monson R, Stubblefield P, Ryan K. Association of Abortion With Subsequent Pregnancy Loss. JAMA 1980;243(24):2495-2499
So, what do YOU think might be the cause?