Fifteen million and rising—the number of premature births every year

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 03 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3084
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. 1London

A worldwide study of preterm births has found that 15 million babies are born before 37 weeks’ gestation every year, with one million of those babies dying from complications.

The report, published by a coalition that includes the World Health Organization and the charity Save the Children, found that the proportion of preterm babies was rising in nearly every country with reliable data, mainly high and middle income countries. Prematurity is the leading cause of death in newborns and the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 5 years, but a lack of data on preterm births at the country level has hampered action in low and middle …

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