Development of a prognostic model for predicting spontaneous singleton preterm birth

Jelle M. Schaaf, Anita C.J. Ravelli, Ben Willem J. Mol, Ameen Abu-Hanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To develop and validate a prognostic model for prediction of spontaneous preterm birth. Study design: Prospective cohort study using data of the nationwide perinatal registry in The Netherlands. We studied 1,524,058 singleton pregnancies between 1999 and 2007. We developed a multiple logistic regression model to estimate the risk of spontaneous preterm birth based on maternal and pregnancy characteristics. We used bootstrapping techniques to internally validate our model. Discrimination (AUC), accuracy (Brier score) and calibration (calibration graphs and Hosmer-Lemeshow C-statistic) were used to assess the model's predictive performance. Our primary outcome measure was spontaneous preterm birth at <37 completed weeks. Results: Spontaneous preterm birth occurred in 57,796 (3.8%) pregnancies. The final model included 13 variables for predicting preterm birth. The predicted probabilities ranged from 0.01 to 0.71 (IQR 0.02-0.04). The model had an area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.63 (95% CI 0.63-0.63), the Brier score was 0.04 (95% CI 0.04-0.04) and the Hosmer Lemeshow C-statistic was significant (p < 0.0001). The calibration graph showed overprediction at higher values of predicted probability. The positive predictive value was 26% (95% CI 20-33%) for the 0.4 probability cut-off point. Conclusions: The model's discrimination was fair and it had modest calibration. Previous preterm birth, drug abuse and vaginal bleeding in the first half of pregnancy were the most important predictors for spontaneous preterm birth. Although not applicable in clinical practice yet, this model is a next step towards early prediction of spontaneous preterm birth that enables caregivers to start preventive therapy in women at higher risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-155
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Prediction model
  • Preterm birth
  • Prognostic model
  • Risk assessment
  • Screening
  • Spontaneous

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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