Maternal Nutrition and Preterm Delivery

  • Theresa O. Scholl
  • Mary L. Hediger
Part of the Nutrition ◊ and ◊ Health book series (NH)


The United States has an infant mortality rate that ranks 20th worldwide. A major cause of this poor rank is an excess of preterm deliveries to US women compared with lower ranking countries, such as Norway (1). Preterm delivery (<37-completed-weeks’ gestation) contributes substantially to low birth weight (LBW, <2500 g) but is not synonymous with it. Of all infants weighing <2500 g, 60–70% are born before 37 completed weeks, and the remainder are term infants who were growth-restricted in utero (small-for-gestational-age [SGA]) (2). Preterm delivery is held to be the strongest underlying risk factor for infant mortality, accounting for 85% of the early neonatal deaths not because of lethal congenital defects (3). In the United States, it is estimated that nearly three-quarters of all neonatal deaths occur among infants who deliver too early (4).


Preterm Birth Fetal Growth Preterm Delivery Gestational Weight Gain Zinc Supplementation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theresa O. Scholl
  • Mary L. Hediger

There are no affiliations available

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