About World Prematurity Day
Prematurity is the leading killer of America's newborns and affects 15 million babies worldwide each year. It is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five worldwide. Those who survive often have lifelong health problems, including cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, chronic lung disease, blindness and hearing loss.
- Every year, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm (before 37 completed weeks of gestation), and this number is rising.
- Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age, responsible for approximately 1 million deaths in 2015.
- Three-quarters of these deaths could be prevented with current, cost-effective interventions.
- Across 184 countries, the rate of preterm birth ranges from 5% to 18% of babies born.
More than 60% of preterm births occur in Africa and South Asia, but preterm birth is truly a global problem. In the lower-income countries, on average, 12% of babies are born too early compared with 9% in higher-income countries.
This day, part of the monthlong Prematurity Awareness Month seeks to raise awareness about the seriousness of this problem.