- Recurrent preterm birth is frequently defined as two or more deliveries before 37 completed weeks of gestation. The recurrence rate varies as a function of the antecedent for preterm birth: spontaneous versus indicated. Spontaneous preterm birth is the result of either preterm labor with intact membranes or preterm prelabor rupture of the membranes. This article reviews the body of literature describing the risk of recurrence of spontaneous and indicated preterm birth. Also discussed are the factors which modify the risk for recurrent spontaneous preterm birth (a short sonographic cervical length and a positive cervicovaginal fetal fibronectin test). Patients with a history of an indicated preterm birth are at risk not only for recurrence of this subtype, but also for spontaneous preterm birth. Individuals of black origin have a higher rate of recurrent preterm birth.