Introduction: Despite advances in the knowledge of the circumstances surrounding preterm delivery, in a considerable number of cases there are still some unknown aspects.
Aims: The objective of the current work is to characterize and analyze data relating to familial antecedents and the gestation of preterm newborns with 32 or less weeks of gestational age at birth admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit of a differentiated perinatal hospital in Portugal.
Material and methods: Through the use of a prospective, descriptive and opportunistic questionnaire and by reviewing the mother’s and newborn’s case notes, data was collected focusing on information relating to the newborn, pregnancy, mother, household and family history, based on a sample of 51 mothers and 65 newborns.
Results: The sample included more than 50% of the preterm newborns born in the period of time studied. The main results showed that 52.9% of the mothers were aged 18-34 years, most of them had a favorable socioeconomic position, and 49% suffered from congenital/chronic disease. About 25.4% of pregnancies were the result of medically assisted reproduction and 25.5% involved invasive prenatal diagnosis. About 60.8% of the women needed hospitalization during pregnancy and the main reason for hospitalization in the delivery room was labor induction (45.1%). With regards to newborns, 2 had congenital malformations, a minority had fetal growth restriction and 3 died.
Conclusions: In this descriptive study we registered the fact that preterm mothers had important pre-existing chronic conditions and many needed hospitalization during pregnancy. The preterm birth was medically induced in about 45% of cases due to maternal/fetal pathology. This data can be the starting point for a case-control study.