Medicine: Buying Precious Time for Baby

Approval for a new drug to curtail premature births

Rosanne, 26, was in the seventh month of her first pregnancy when things began to go wrong. The baby's head was far down in the uterus, apparently ready to begin a premature journey to the outside world. Admitted to the hospital for observation, Rosanne soon went into labor; contractions came only three minutes apart. Had the baby been born then, at a weight of no more than 3 Ibs. and with frail, immature lungs, it would surely have developed life-threatening respiratory problems. But Rosanne and her baby were lucky. Given ritodrine, an experimental...

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