A case-control study to identify risk factors for preterm labor in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Amira Youssef El-Bastawissi, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The study objectives were to determine risk factors for preterm labor (PTL) in Colorado Springs, CO, with emphasis on altitude and psychosocial factors, and to develop a model that identifies women at high risk for PTL. Three hundred and thirty patients with PTL were matched to 460 control patients without PTL using insurance category as an indirect measure of social class. Data were gathered by patient interview and review of medical records. Seven risk groups were compared: (1) Altitude change and travel; (2) Psychosocial ((a) child, sexual, spouse, alcohol and drug abuse; (b) neuroses and psychoses; (c) serious accidents and injuries; (d) broken home (maternal parental separation); (e) assault (physical and sexual); and (f) stress (emotional, domestic, occupational, financial and general)); (3) demographic; (4) maternal physical condition; (5) Prenatal care; (6) Behavioral risks; and (7) Medical factors. Analysis was by logistic regression. Results demonstrated altitude change before or after conception and travel during pregnancy to be non-significant, even after adjustment for potential confounding variables. Five significant psychosocial risk factors were determined: Maternal sex abuse (p = 0.006), physical assault (p = 0.025), nervous breakdown (p = 0.011), past occupational injury (p = 0.016), and occupational stress (p = 0.028). Considering all seven risk groups in the logistic regression, we chose a logistic model with 11 risk factors. Two risk factors were psychosocial (maternal spouse abuse and past occupational injury), 1 was pertinent to maternal physical condition ($\le$130 lbs. pre-pregnancy weight), 1 to prenatal care ($\le$10 prenatal care visits), 2 pertinent to behavioral risks ($>$15 cigarettes per day and $\le$30 lbs. weight gain) and 5 medical factors (abnormal genital culture, previous PTB, primiparity, vaginal bleeding and vaginal discharge). We conclude that altitude change is not a risk factor for PTL and that selected psychosocial factors are significant risk factors for PTL.

Subject Area

Public health|Obstetrics|Gynecology|Surgery

Recommended Citation

El-Bastawissi, Amira Youssef, "A case-control study to identify risk factors for preterm labor in Colorado Springs, Colorado" (1993). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9422043.