One in nine babies will be born prematurely. That’s more than 450,000 each year in the United States. While the preterm birth rate in 2012 was at a 15-year low, there is still much progress to be made. Because of the statistics and the life-threatening potential of premature labor, it is vital to understand the risks and complications associated with preterm birth.

Preterm Birth Causes and Risks

Risk factors of premature birth include:

  • Chronic health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Pregnancy with multiples (triplets or twins)
  • Uterine or cervical problems
  • Consuming alcohol or drugs
  • Infections during pregnancy
  • Physical trauma or stress
  • Prior preterm labor
  • In vitro fertilization
  • Poor nutrition
  • Smoking

To combat these statistics, Magee-Women’s Hospital, home to the largest NICU in Pennsylvania, is pioneering research on preterm birth. For more information, visit the Magee NICU.

Over 450,000 infants are born prematurely every year in the United States. Learn more about the risks and complications.

Want to learn more about maternal fetal medicine and preterm birth? Check out ourĀ Medical Monday’s post on Newborn Medicine.