We love babies, and while we get excited whenever we see one, we don’t want them poppin out too EARLY!
But according to the Born Too Soon Report, the first study of it’s kind led by the WHO (World Health Organization), one in ten babies are born prematurely (born before 37 weeks instead of a full-term 40 week pregnancy) around the world each year!!!
The report states that tragically, three-quarters of these deaths can be prevented, and the babies which do survive, can develop serious learning difficulties as well as visual and hearing problems.
Dr Lale Say from the WHO says each country has varying reasons for the deaths, and not surprisingly there are big discrepancies around the world.
"It is very striking to see that preterm births have a similar burden all around the world - but due to different reasons. In developing countries it is due to things like infections, HIV, malaria and poor nutrition.
In developed countries there are totally different risk factors - an older delivery age, diabetes, obesity and multiple births due to IVF."
Although this is all VERY SAD, there is good news!
Dr Christopher Howson, from March of Dimes, says that the problem IS solvable and says:
"This is a solvable problem. A number of countries, for example, Ecuador, Botswana, Turkey, Oman and Sri Lanka have halved their neonatal deaths from preterm birth through improving [care for] serious complications like infections and respiratory distress."
Experts also encourage the use of kangaroo care – a technique where the baby is tied, skin to skin, on the mothers' front - which reduces infection, keeps the baby warm and makes it easy to breastfeed and dramatically reduces newborn death.
[Image via March Of Dimes.]