Adverse Childhood Experiences and Preterm Birth: A Systematic Review

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Adverse childhood Experiences (ACEs) elevate one’s risk for poor health outcomes later in life such as psychiatric disorders, cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety, obesity, diabetes, poor fetal health, and liver disease (Poulton et al., 2002, Anda et al., 2007, Jimenez et al., 2017, Talbot et al., 2009. While the association between ACEs and negative health outcomes is well established in the literature, only ten studies examine the effect of ACEs on one’s risk for preterm birth (Benedict et al. 1999; Bublitz et al., 2014; Cammack et al., 2019; Christiaens et al. 2015; Jacobs 1998; Gillespie et al. 2017; Grimstad et al. 1998; Leeners et al. 2010; Margerison-Zilko et al., 2016; Noll et al. 2007). Preterm birth accounts for 60% of neonatal deaths and elevates an infant’s risk for poor health outcomes later in life ranging from behavioral issues to heart disease (WHO, 2018) and the rate of preterm birth in the United States has steadily risen since 2015, reaching about 10% in 2018 (CDC, 2018). This systematic review seeks to critically assess and synthesize these ten studies and identify proposed mediators and identify gaps in the literature for future research.