Who is more likely to have a premmie?

20 Oct 2022

Approximately 8% of all births in Australia occur prematurely (ie: before 37 weeks’ gestation), with most of these being between 32-36 weeks gestation. Preterm birth is often an unplanned event and quite often occurs as an emergency or semi-emergency.

What we know:

  • There are many known and unknown causes of preterm birth. In about half of cases it isn’t known why the preterm birth occurs.
  • About 30–35% of preterm births occur for a reason, 40–45% follow spontaneous preterm labour, and 25–30% follow preterm rupture of membranes.
  • A maternal infection or a maternal or fetal condition may be the reason the birth occurs earlier or needs to be brought on earlier for the safety of mother or the baby – for example, pre-eclampsia, a shortened cervix or poor growth of the fetus
  • 63% of all twins are born preterm. All triplets and higher number pregnancies will be born preterm
  • Babies born to mothers who live in remote areas are more likely to be born preterm.
  • Babies born to mothers who are <20 years or >39 years are more likely to be likely to be preterm.
  • Babies born to First Nations mothers and those from disadvantaged communities are more likely to be born preterm.
  • Having a previous preterm birth increases the risk of preterm birth.
  • Pregnancies occurring after in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) are at increased risk of preterm birth.

For more information and detailed source information see below. 

Epidemiology and causes of preterm birth

Risk of Preterm Birth

If you have had a premature baby and need support, please see below

Preterm Infants Parents Association

Life's Little Treasures

Miracle Babies Foundation

This information has been reviewed by Neonatologist, Dr John Smyth.

Disclaimer: This information by Running for Premature Babies Foundation is educational and informative in nature and is not medical advice or a healthcare recommendation. For further information, please Contact Us.