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Published in CenterView on April 09, 2012

Preterm birth textbook offers multi-specialty expertise

By Jack Mazurak

A recently published textbook on preterm birth edited and co-written by Dr. John Morrison, UMMC professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology, ties together a multi-specialty approach.

It's also free.

"Preterm birth is the No. 1 problem we see in all of obstetrics," said Morrison, a former chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. "It's the most common, most deadly situation we have and it accounts for 75 percent of neonatal death."

Babies born between 32 and 37 weeks gestation are considered preterm.

He wrote the book "Preterm Birth - Mother and Child" along with neonatologists, pediatric specialists and other ob/gyns to offer a complete guide.

"Nobody's told the whole story from the perspective of each specialty that's involved with treating a preterm mother and baby," Morrison said. "No one medical specialty can get their hands completely around all the aspects. There's the mother's care and treatment, then the preterm neonate's needs with all its complications, the baby's well-being and its complications, and there's the long-term pediatric care of that child.

"When a pediatric cardiologist gets a preterm baby with a heart murmur, the workup is different than if it were a full-term baby," he said. "When it comes to history of the patient, doctors caring for the baby who was born preterm should not be flying blind."

The textbook, which he dedicated to his wife, Rita, uses a quote from a poem by his granddaughter, Hollidae Robinson, that he felt encompasses the impact of preterm birth.

The book is available as a free download on the publisher's website. Print copies can be ordered at the same site, www.intechopen.com/books/preterm-birth-mother-and-child "If you're in Darfur and dealing with preterm births, you don't need to rely on a 10-year-old textbook that was donated," Morrison said. "There may be little infrastructure but there's always a cyber cafe where you can download the book and have the information right there in the field. And because it's online, it can be kept up to date."