We understand by premature birth, that birth that occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy and where, usually, the lungs, the brain and other organs of the baby have yet to be developed, which can make newborn babies very vulnerable.

A study conducted between 1973 and 1979 and has remained in effect until today, revealed that children born prematurely are at increased risk of death during the childhood or youth above the people who are born at term.

The results of the research were published by The Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA), where, in addition, be liable to premature delivery the leading cause of death and disease, perinatal (before and after birth) in developed countries.

“Despite the fact that their effects are well documented, we have little information about their long-term consequences during adulthood. Now, these results may be important from the point of view of public health and clinical, due to the high prevalence of preterm birth and an improvement in the short-term survival”. Add the authors of the research.

Relationship between preterm birth and infant mortality

The team of Casey Crump, of Stanford University, (USA), investigated on the relationship between the gestational age at birth and mortality in adulthood, the work done included a cohort of national 674.820 people born in Sweden who lived more than 1 year, between them 27.979 (4.1%) born preterm, and who were followed until 2008. In total, there were 7.095 deaths between the first year of life and the maximum age, set between 29 to 36 years.

These figures are made significant because it was the first time that the conditions neonatal far surpass infectious disease as the main cause of child mortality.

Joy Lawn, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and one of the authors of the report, noted that: “The success that we have seen in the fight against infectious diseases demonstrates that we can also succeed if we invest in prevention and care of preterm baby”.


The authors of this research argued that:

  • Two-thirds of the deaths due to preterm birth could be prevented without intensive care.
  • “The method kangaroo“, is where babies are carried skin-to-skin on the chest of the mother or the father, and this simple intervention is promoting in all over the world for its effectiveness.
  • Improvements in medical care.
  • Prevention and precaution during pregnancy.
Also read: Importance of breastfeeding in premature infants

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