Thursday, April 18, 2013

Premature Births and Babies - Emily Roper

Every year in the United States, nearly 500,000 babies, that's 1 out of every 9 babies, or about 12.8% of babies born, are born prematurely, according to the CDC. An organization called Tommy's, has a set of definitions pertaining to the different levels of severity of the preterm birth.

The CDC also states that "the earlier a baby is born, the more severe his or her health problems are likely to be. Although babies born very preterm are a small percentage of all births, these very preterm infants account for a large proportion of infant deaths. More infants die from preterm-related problems than from any other single cause. Some premature babies require special care and spend weeks or months hospitalized in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Those who survive may face lifelong problems such as— intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, breathing and respiratory problems, visual problems including retinopathy of prematurity, hearing loss, feeding and digestive problems." It's been proven that "girls may also be more likely to survive very early premature birth, as are babies born in singleton vs. multiple pregnancies."

Risk Factors

According to the CDC, there are certain risk factors that play a role in whether a baby will be born preterm or not. These risk factors include: "having a previous preterm birth, on average, black women are about 50% more likely to have a premature baby compared to white women, carrying more than one baby (twins, triplets, or more), problems with the uterus or cervix, chronic health problems in the mother, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and clotting disorders, certain infections during pregnancy, cigarette smoking, alcohol use, or illicit drug use during pregnancy."

Warning Signs

The CDC also gives some warning signs to help a woman know if she is going into labor prematurely. Some of the signs are: "contractions (the abdomen tightens like a fist) every 10 minutes or more often, change in vaginal discharge (leaking fluid or bleeding from the vagina), pelvic pressure—the feeling that the baby is pushing down, low, dull backache, cramps that feel like a menstrual period, abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea."


Length of Pregnancy
Likelihood of Survival
23 weeks
24 weeks
25 weeks
26 weeks
27 weeks
28-31 weeks
32-33 weeks
34+ weeks
Almost as likely as a full-term baby

Out of the nearly 500,000 babies that are born prematurely, 22% will develop a severe disability, such as cerebral palsy, 24% will develop a moderate disability, such as special needs, 34% will develop a mild disiability, such as a low IQ or bad vision, and only 20% will have no problems.

Preterm Births as a Percent of All Births By State, 2010


Preterm Births as a % of Births:
· Lowest state: Vermont: 8.4%
· Highest State: Mississippi: 17.6%
· Lowest Territory: Guam: 18.0%
· Highest Territory: Virgin Islands: 12.7%



  1. I learned a lot, and liked all of your graphs and diagrams.

  2. I like this research report, I thought it was very informative and a problem that every parent might have a chance of experiencing this.