Preterm birth rates

Pregnancy should reach nine months. Babies should be born at term and two days later discharged home. Yet 5-18% of all babies worldwide are born preterm (at 24 to 37 weeks of pregnancy).

Newborn mortality & morbidity

Preterm birth is the single major cause of death in children up to 5 years of age in the developed world and the leading single cause of global perinatal mortality and morbidity.


Average premature birth costs are over 10 times higher than term birth

  • 47% of the costs for all infant hospitalizations and 27% of all pediatric stays are due to preterm/low birth weight admissions.
  • Preterm infants take up more than half of Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) costs.
  • The financial burden of treating preterm birth in the US alone is over $25B annually.

Healthcare spending for single preterm infants (USA)

CostGestational ageFull term$500K24W28W32W36W$400K$300K$200K$100K$5K$549K$291K$100K$10K$4K

Preterm birth is a multifactorial problem
60-70% of preterm births occur due to spontaneous onset of labor.

Existing treatments such as medications, hormones (progesterone), surgical interventions (cerclage), and pessaries are unsatisfactory. Therefore the rate of preterm births has not changed in decades.

Infants born preterm are over 40 times more likely to die during the neonatal period than are term infants.

A significant proportion of preterm-born children experience short & long-term complications including respiratory impairment, feeding disorders, neurological disabilities, vision disorders, hearing impairment, developmental delay and cerebral palsy.

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