Facts & Figures - a quick look

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Globally preterm birth accounts for over 9.5% of all births.  This means that over 13 million babies are born too soon every year.


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90% of Preemies survive

Thirty years ago less than 25% of the tiniest preemies were surviving, now almost 90% survive.  Learning about preterm birth can help increase awareness of the unique needs of preemies and their families.

Here you can find out about General Statistics and Preemie Outcomes. Make sure to have a look...


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Cultural Disparities & Preterm Birth

The incidence of preterm birth is not equal across the world or between different racial groups. Some racial and economic subgroups of society have a higher incidence of preterm birth, which may suggest inequality in health care or may represent a need for extra assistance.

The number of preterm births are not equal when you compare countries, for example the highest rate of preterm birth occurs in Africa and the lowest in Europe. The reasons for this are varied and are likely due to differences between countries in regards to the various risk factors. Some racial groups also have higher rates of preterm births, which are also likely due to differences between risk factors. We need to do more to help those people who are at higher risk for preterm birth in order to reduce the number worldwide.

The incidence of preterm birth is not equal across the world or between different racial groups. Some racial and economic subgroups of society have a higher incidence of preterm birth, which may suggest inequality in health care or may represent a need for extra assistance

Incidence of Preterm Birth: Cultural Disparities

Full term babies are born between 38 and 42 gestational weeks. Preemies can be defined by birth weight (LBW - low birth weight, VLBW - very low birth weight or ELBW - extremely low birth weight) and/or gestational age (preterm, very preterm, extremely preterm). We've provided some stats to highlight the differences between the incidence of preterm birth for various cultural groups.

Preterm birth: Cultural Disparities in the United States of America

General Incidence

  • 499,008 infants -- were born prematurely (less than 37 weeks gestation) in 2003
Source: National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)

Rates of preterm birth

  • In 1995: 11.0% of live births was born preterm
  • In 2004: 12.5% of live births was born preterm
  • In 2006: 12.8% of live births was born preterm
Source: March of Dimes - Peristats

Rates of preterm birth in 2004 by race

  • African American: 17.6%
  • Native Americans: 13.2%
  • Hispanics: 12%
  • Non-Hispanic white: 11.5%
  • Asians: 10.4%
(Reedy, 2007)

Rates of preterm birth in 2006 by race

  • African American: 18.3%
  • Native Americans: 14.1%
  • Hispanics: 12.1%
  • Non-Hispanic white: 11.6%
  • Asians: 10.7%
(Reedy, 2007)

Preterm birth: Cultural Disparities in Australia

General Incidence

  • 23,953 babies were born prematurely in 2007

Rates of preterm birth

  • In 1992: 6.9% of live births was born preterm
  • In 2006: 8.1% of live births was born preterm
  • In 2007: 8.1% of live births was born preterm

Rates of preterm birth: Indigenous versus Non-Indigenous Australians

  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander rate of preterm birth: 13.7%
  • Non-Indigenous rate of preterm birth: 5.1%
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander rate of low birth weight in liveborn babies: 12.4%
  • Non-Indigenous rate of preterm birth: 6.2%
(Lancaster, Huang, & Elvis, 1995) (Laws, Abeywardana, Walker, & Sullivan, 2007) (Laws & Sullivan, 2009).

Risk Factors and Cultural Disparities

Some expectant mothers engage in risky behaviors that can increase the risk for preterm birth.

In some countries the risk is even higher if you're from a specific cultural group, maybe this means they haven't received sufficient support or education to decrease these risky behaviours. We have provided a few stats that highlight this point. Preemiehelp.com will soon have a number of resources to help mothers reduce their risk factors and we also encourage government representatives and health care providers to help us close the gap between people of different cultural and racial backgrounds.

Alcohol Consumption Pregnancy, & Preterm Birth

Alcohol consumption in large quantities has been associated with preterm birth

Kaminski, Rumeau, & Schwartz, 1978; Sokol et al., 2007}

Australian Stats

  • About 80% of women consumed alcohol during pregnancy

Non-Aboriginal Women (Western Australian survey)

  • More than half (59%) of women reported consuming alcohol during pregnancy
  • 15% drank in excess of the current Australian Alcohol Guideline for alcohol consumption in the first trimester of pregnancy
  • 10% drank in excess of the current Australian Alcohol Guideline for alcohol consumption in the second and third trimesters
{Colvin, Parsons, Kurinczuk, & Bower, 2007}

Aboriginal Women

  • 44% reported that they drank alcohol during pregnancy
  • 22% reported that they had become intoxicated at least once during pregnancy
{Zubrick, Lawrence, Mitrou, Dalby, & Blair, 2005}

Effects of tobacco smoking and pregnancy

Tobacco Smoking

A comprehensive body of research demonstrates a dose-dependent relationship between smoking tobacco and preterm birth and low birth weight (LBW). In other words the more cigarettes smoked the higher the chance of having a preterm birth.

{Fantuzzi, 2007 #297;Kyrklund-Blomberg, 2005 #255}

Rates of smoking in Australia

In Australia the percentage of women who smoked while pregnant ranged from 12.8% in both New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory to 28.0% in Tasmania. There was no data available for Victoria.

  • Overall, 16.6% of women in these states and territories smoked during Pregnancy
  • The average age of mothers who smoked during pregnancy was 26.9 years
  • Teenage mothers accounted for 11.4% of all mothers who reported smoking during pregnancy
{Laws, 2009 #1083}

Aboriginal Women

  • Over half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers reported smoking during pregnancy (51.8%)
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers accounted for 14.6% of mothers who smoked during pregnancy
  • 10% drank in excess of the current Australian Alcohol Guideline for alcohol consumption in the second and third trimesters
{Laws, 2009 #1083}

 

 



AlbertEinstein_iconOne of the greatest minds in history, Albert Einstein was born preterm.

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Preemie, Premmie, or Prem?

Most babies spend between 38 and 42 weeks in their mother’s uterus. So, technically a preterm birth, preemie, premmie, or prem, is an infant who is born less than 37 completed gestational weeks. 


Read More: Defining Preterm birth


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