One in eight U.S. babies is preterm, says the Institute of Medicine. That's a rise of 30 percent in recent decades.
Rupture of the membranes near the end of pregnancy may be caused by a natural weakening of the membranes or from the force of contractions.
Preterm birth is the greatest problem associated with preterm labor. Although most babies are born after 37 weeks, those born preterm are at increased risks for many complications.
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