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The state of health care is reflected by perinatal and neonatal morbidity and mortality as well as by the frequencies of long-term neurologic and developmental disorders. Many factors, some without immediately rec ognizable significance to childbearing and many still unknown, undoubt edly contribute beneficially or adversely to the outcome of pregnancy. Knowledge concerning the impact of such factors on the fetus and sur viving infant is critical. Confounding analyses of pregnancy outcome, especially these past two or three decades, are the effects of newly un dertaken invasive or inactive therapeutic approaches coupled with the advent of high technology. Many innovations have been introduced with out serious efforts to evaluate their impact prospectively and objectively. The consequences of therapeutic misadventures characterized the past; it seems they have been replaced to a degree by some of the complications of applied technology. Examples abound: after overuse of oxygen was recognized to cause retrolental fibroplasia, its restriction led to an in crease in both neonatal death rates and neurologic damage in surviving infants. Administration of vitamin K to prevent neonatal hemorrhagic disease, particularly when given in what we now know as excessive dos age, occasionally resulted in kernicterus. Prophylactic sulfonamide use had a similar end result. More recent is the observation of bronchopul monary dysplasia as a complication of respirator therapy for hyaline membrane disease.