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