What is prematurity?

(17-11-2015)

It’s considered a preterm birth when a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. It’s one of the first causes of newborn mortality in the world, and the number has increased in the last few years.

WHO estimates that around 15 million babies are born every year before reaching the term. In Europe, 10% of births are premature, and in Spain this percentage reaches 6%.

Very often, the cause of the preterm birth is unknown, but there are some risk factors to have in mind: obesity, diabetes, hypertension, smoking, some infections, late maternity or multiple pregnancy.

Therefore, it’s important to have healthy habits during pregnancy, even though there can be other causes that could also cause a preterm birth (e.g. uterine malformations).

Preterm babies have the risk of developing disabilities depending on the level of prematurity and the quality of care received during birth. Therefore, special medical care during the weeks or months after birth is required.

But luckily, the viability of a preterm baby has increased in the last years, and according to a study of the Neonatology Spanish Society, 55.7% of babies born in week 25 survive without serious sequelae.