Premature birth rates are rising

Premature birth rates, which are already a major factor in newborn mortality, appear to be rising.

According to a new report, entitled Born Too Soon, one in ten babies around the world are born prematurely.

Midwife Carole Presern, who runs the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, said there are many preventative measures that can be used to reduce the chances of a premature birth.

These can include, but are not limited to, ensuring mothers are not too young, making sure pregnant women are a healthy weight and identifying any history of preterm birth.

She claimed that of the deaths that occur as a result of premature birth, 75 per cent could be prevented.

Dr Joy Lawn, co-editor of the new report, said that being born early is an "unrecognised killer". Pre-term births, he noted, were the second-biggest killer of under-fives after pneumonia.

Meanwhile, a recent National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases study identified a number of microbial strains that can result in miscarriage.

Posted by Alexandra GeorgeImage removed.