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What Are the Risks for Premature Babies?

Did you know that about 15 million babies are born prematurely each year around the globe? More than 380,000 of those preterm births are right here in the United States.

When babies are born before full-term, they run the risk of many complications, health issues, and each year, more than 1 million of these babies do not survive.


Efforts to Improve Birth Rates

The United States continues to improve its preterm birth rates, however it still has one of the highest rates of premature birth of all industrialized nations.

The March of Dimes extended its Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait® campaign globally in an effort to prevent preterm births where possible and with a focus on reducing elective deliveries before 39 weeks gestation. 

November is marked as Prematurity Awareness Month® with the annual release of the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card. To view the report, go to

November 17 is World Prematurity Day. Beebe Healthcare, the March of Dimes and partner organizations worldwide are asking everyone to help spread the word about the serious problem of premature birth.


What is Premature Birth?

Premature birth is categorized as babies born before 38 weeks of gestation. Babies who are not full-term or 40 weeks of gestation, can have serious health issues. Premature babies have increased risk for lung and respiratory issues, heart issues, development delays, and more.

Premature births are also a financial concern. According to the Institute of Medicine, in 2007 the cost associated with premature birth in the United States was $26.2 billion each year. Here’s a look at some of the numbers: 

• $16.9 billion in medical and health care costs for the baby

• $1.9 billion in labor and delivery costs for mom

• $611 million for early intervention services. These are programs for children from birth to age 3 with disabilities and developmental delays. They help children learn physical, thinking, communicating, social and self-help skills that normally develop before age 3. 

• $1.1 billion for special education services. These services are specially designed for children with disabilities ages 3 through 21. They help children with development and learning. Children can get these services at school, at home, in hospitals and in other places, as needed. 


If you are pregnant and do not have a local obstetrician/gynecologist, call Beebe’s Women’s Health Nurse Navigator Carrie Snyder, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC. Carrie can help you find a physician and help guide you through the journey to a safe and healthy baby. Contact Carrie at (844) 316-3330, or email [email protected].