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SCIENCE FILE / An exploration of issues and trends affecting science, medicine and the environment : Length of Cervix May Indicate Risk of Premature Birth

February 29, 1996|From Times staff and wire reports

The length of a pregnant woman's cervix may be an important clue to her risk of giving birth prematurely. Ohio State University researchers report in the Feb. 29 New England Journal of Medicine that the shorter her cervix, the more likely a woman will give birth too soon. Even those whose cervices are normal in size have a greater risk than those with especially long ones.

As intriguing as this finding is, researchers say it is too soon to make cervix measurement a routine part of prenatal care. One reason is that doctors have no good way to prevent premature birth, even when they know the risk is high.

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