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1 Million 'Preemie' Babies Die Each Year: Report
Date:10/4/2009

e born preterm -- 7.5 percent of total births. In middle-resource regions, 7,685,000 infants are born preterm -- 8.8 percent of total births. In low-resource regions, 4,171,000 infants are born preterm -- 12.5 percent of total births, according to the report.

Rates of preterm birth in the United States have increased 36 percent in the past 25 years due to a number of key factors. More women over age 35 are getting pregnant and there's increased use of assisted reproductive technologies, resulting in more multiple births, the report stated.

Infants who survive preterm birth are at risk for a number of serious lifelong health problems such as cerebral palsy, blindness, hearing loss, and learning disabilities.

Currently, there is no reliable way to prevent or delay preterm birth.

"While much can be done right now to reduce death and disability from preterm birth even in low-resource settings, we need to know more about the underlying causes of premature birth in order to develop effective prevention strategies," Christopher P. Howson, vice president for global programs at the March of Dimes, said in the news release.

The authors of the new report said more needs to be done to educate health professionals, policy makers, women of childbearing age, and others about the global toll of preterm birth, as well as how to care for women with high-risk pregnancies and their babies.

The report is scheduled to be presented this month at the International Conference on Birth Defects and Disabilities in the Developing World, held in New Delhi, India.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has more about preterm labor and birth.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: March of
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