Prematurity

A premature baby is an infant born before 37 weeks pregnant.

Premature baby in hospital

Babies born before the full gestational period are not fully developed. There are different levels of prematurity, and generally the risk to the baby's health increases the earlier the birth is - babies at highest risk are those born before week 26.

Around 60,000 babies are born prematurely each year in the UK and many suffer lifelong consequences as a result. Premature birth is the leading cause of neonatal death in the UK.

If we are to improve outcomes for babies it is crucial that we focus on research to improve prediction, prevention and treatment of preterm labour.

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