World Prematurity Day: Premature rising in the UK

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Nov 18, 2016 05:16 AM EST

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 10: Premature baby Matthew Hirsh, born at 28 weeks, is held by his mother Deborah Patire in the neonatal intensive care unit during a media tour for the March of Dimes' Prematurity Awareness Month at New York University Medical Center November 10, 2004 in New York City. For the first time in nearly 50 years the U.S. infant mortality rate is on the rise due in large part to prematurity which is the leading cause of newborn death. (Photo : Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The world just commemorated World Prematurity Day on November 17, and such is a fitting moment to bring greater attention to increasing cases of premature births in the UK.

Premature births have led to the deaths of several prematurely-born babies in the UK. Overall 60,000 babies are born preterm in the UK every year and unfortunately, 1,200 of them die. Surviving babies are known to develop other problems like learning difficulties or cerebral palsy.

Naturally, labor should start at any time between 37 weeks to 42 weeks of pregnancy.  A labor occurring any time before 37 weeks of pregnancy is considered premature. In the UK, around eight out of every 100 babies are born before 37 weeks. However, one in 100 babies is born between 22 weeks to 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Why are babies born prematurely?

The exact reason for premature birth remains unknown. However, some risks are known. The International Business Times wrote that genetics, infections, and placental problems all serve as main causes for premature birth. Sometimes, due to the mother's health condition, doctors go for premature birth to save both the life of the mother and child.

A mother suffering from high blood pressure or protein in urine makes it a genuine reason for the doctors to advise delivering a baby pre-time. 

News8000 wrote that there are various reasons for the premature birth of babies and some of these reasons are preventable.

Risks of premature birth

Premature birth puts a baby at higher risk of death. The more a baby is close to 37 weeks of pregnancy the stronger he is to survive. For example, a baby born any time from 34 weeks to 36 weeks is less likely to have complications in breathing, though he may still be at risk of developing infections or increasing blood sugar levels.

A baby born earlier than 34 weeks, any time after 32 weeks, needs more care because of the breathing problems. A baby born before 28 weeks needs to stay in the hospital for special care in a neonatal unit.

A mother can minimize the chances of premature birth by taking good anti-natal care and providing the full history of her previous pregnancies to her doctor, especially if she had delivered a prematurely-born baby in the past. 

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