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preterm birth facts

about premature births


Premature rate – In both the United States and United Kingdom, one out of every eight babies is born prematurely. That means 511,000 in the United States and 80,000 in the United Kingdom.

2. Intensive care – Many of these babies will require intensive care at rate of about one out of every five premature babies or 17,000 out of 80,000 for the United Kingdom.

3. Definition – The definition of a premature birth is a baby who is born before 37 weeks gestation.

4. Survival rates – Although many premature babies can go on to live normal healthy lives, we thought it would be a good time to discuss survival rates. For 2006, a study was done on 1,300 live births in the UK that happened before 26 weeks of gestation. Of these, 952 survived long enough to be admitted into neonatal intensive care.

5. Survival before 26 weeks – The same study found that 40% of babies born at 23 weeks or earlier die in the labor ward.

6. Weight counts – How much the baby weighs when born prematurely is also a key factor. There is a 90% survival rate if the baby is over 800 grams. The number drops to 50% if the baby is 500 grams.

7. No improvement – The same study found that while the numbers of premature births over 26 weeks who survived were improving, the number who survived below 26 weeks has been fairly constant since 1995 in the UK.

8. Most common ailment – The most common ailment in premature babies is breathing difficulties. They are often put on breathing monitors and other apparatus that can help them survive.

9. Most common cause - Most premature births are caused by spontaneous preterm labor, either by itself or following spontaneous premature rupture of the membranes, also known as PROM.

10. C-section – Many premature births are also brought on by forced labor due to problems in the womb. Complications or other health problems can result in doctors choosing to do a C-section or force early labor.

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