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Genes May Trigger Repeated Premature Birth In Blacks

e new study used 34 weeks gestation as a cut-off to avoid any errors in calculating the due date. The researchers considered 37 weeks gestation to 42 weeks full-term.

The study appears today in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The March of Dimes funded the study.

The data also revealed that a woman who had multiple preterm births tended to deliver at about the same stage in each pregnancy. Almost half of the mothers in the study had their babies within two weeks of the gestation time of their first premature child. It is unlikely that infections or other environmental factors would trigger premature births during such a narrow window, said Dr. Michael P. Nageotte, the immediate past president of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

That clustering raises the possibility that a genetic clock controls the timing of birth and gets turned on too early in some women, Nageotte said.

The researchers concluded that genetics are the underlying reason for premature births.

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