Understanding the Multidimensional Trajectory of Psychosocial Maternal Risk Factors Causing Preterm Birth: A Systematic Review

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Asian Journal of Psychiatry



First page number:


Last page number:



© 2020 Elsevier B.V. Objectives: Among all known risk factors of preterm birth, psychosocial factors form an intricate collection, which includes a multidimensional spectrum of interrelated mediating mechanisms. The understanding of these interconnected mechanisms is vital for designing targeted interventions to reduce preterm births. The objective of this systematic review was to investigate potential psychosocial maternal factors and their interactions to cause preterm birth. Methods: PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus, Medline, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were searched for U.S.-based English language studies published between 1989 and 2019. Titles, abstracts, and full-texts were screened to determine eligibility for inclusion. Data were extracted from eligible studies using a customized data collection form. The National Institutes of Health assessment tool was utilized for quality assessment. Results: Among the 76 full texts that were reviewed, 9 records met the eligibility criteria, and were included in the final review. The included publications addressed psychosocial factors including racial disparity, lifetime racism, neighborhood disadvantage, lack of partner support, childhood maltreatment and life-course variations, including homelessness and marital status. Antenatal stress was identified as a common mechanism through which psychosocial mediators may act to cause preterm birth. Conclusions: This review highlights the need for controlling potential risk factors of maternal stress by improving prenatal care, providing proper housing, and establishing conducive social environments for pregnant women. The review also suggests the importance of maternal psychological counselling and extensive maternal health monitoring among minority groups during the pregnancy period.


Antenatal stress; Life course; Preterm birth; Psych-osocial factors; Psychosocial counseling; Systematic review; Variations


Obstetrics and Gynecology | Psychiatry



UNLV article access

Search your library