Betty on the News: Number of Premature and Preterm Babies Continues to Rise Worldwide
More than a million babies worldwide are born premature and shortly die thereafter, says the March of Dimes in a new report
-Margeaux Baulch Klein
More than 1 million prematurely born babies die each year before they are a month old, a new report by the March of Dimes shows, and the statistics could become worse if the rate of premature births continues to increase.
In the past 25 years, the number of premies has risen 36 percent, partly due to an increase in older mothers, elective cesarean sections, and the growing use of assisted reproduction, which increases the risk of multiple births, the report says.
The philanthropic organization also found that more than 85 percent of premature births occur in developing countries in Africa and Asia. However, the United States isn’t far behind Africa when it comes to preterm births, i.e. births that occur before the 37th week of gestation.
“Premature births are an enormous global problem that is exacting a huge toll emotionally, physically and financially on families, medical systems and economies,” March of Dimes President Jennifer Howse said in a statement.
“In the United States alone, the annual cost of caring for preterm babies and their associated health problems tops $26 billion.” (CNN)