For an infant without lethal congenital malformations there is no risk greater than to be born too early. In addition, preterm birth with its many consequences may compromise the life of the whole family. Thus, prevention of preterm birth is one of the greatest challenges in obstetrics. However, this has proven to be difficult. This difficulty is in part due to the fact that, although we know a large number of clinical factors which are know a large number of clinical factors which are associated with preterm birth, the final mechanisms triggering the onset of preterm contractions or premature rupture of the fetal membranes (PROM) have remained largely unclear. We review the prevention of preterm birth in the light of the newest data; an interested reader is also referred to other recent overviews on the same topic.