Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Decrease in Premature Births in America ( Pregnancy & Childbirth )
While premature births have steadily increased over the last thirty years in America, and are on the rise worldwide, a new report released by the CDC provides hope that the tide has turned. With pre-term birth rising over 20 percent between 1990 and 2006, the 3 percent decline reported today between 2007 and 2008 is small but significant. It is the second year in a row that there has been a decrease.
One in every 12 babies is not carried to term and the earlier they are born, the higher the risk of long-term health issues and death. Premature birth (arriving before 37 weeks’ gestation) is one of the leading causes of newborn deaths and it is a major cause of lifelong illnesses such as hearing loss, cerebral palsy, asthma, blindness, learning disabilities, and other chronic illnesses.
Premature births can be due to a number of factors, but chief among them are lack of prenatal care, rise in multiple births due to fertility treatments, obstetric interventions such as Cesarean sections and elective inductions, and the use of drugs and alcohol during pregnancy. Many of these factors can be controlled to help stem the wave of preterm births.