Dr. Barbara Huggins

Born Too Soon

November 15, 2007

Born Too Soon -  November 15, 2007It's the leading cause of infant death in the first month of life. Premature birth. November is National Premature Awareness month. And today, UT Health Center's Dr. Mom shares this story of one little girl who was born too soon.

Premature birth is a birth that occurs before the 37th completed week of pregnancy. Most pregnancies last around 40 weeks. The incidence of premature birth has increased over 30% in the last 25 years with approximately 1 in 8 babies born early. Preterm birth affects about 500,000 babies each year and is the #1 killer of newborns.

The cost of care for surviving premature infants is 15 times higher than the cost of caring for a healthy full-term newborn. The average length of a hospital stay for a preterm infant is 13 days, whereas the average hospital stay for a term infant is 1.5 days. In 2005, the cost of preterm birth in the United States was at least $26.2 billion. There are not only financial costs but the emotional costs as well. Families spend many hours in the hospital talking to neonatal specialists and make many important decisions about their baby.

Some things you can do to have a healthy pregnancy are:
Call your doctor or nurse right away if you notice any of these symptoms:
It is impossible to predict your chances of giving birth prematurely. You may be at increased risk if you:
Lifestyle and Environmental risks:

The exact causes of preterm labor are not known. However, be aware of the warning signs and do not hesitate to talk with your care provider.

For more information:

NOTICE: Protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.