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U.S. Fares Worse Than Other Developed Nations in Preterm Birth Rate — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
May 3, 2012

U.S. Fares Worse Than Other Developed Nations in Preterm Birth Rate

Twelve percent of babies born in the U.S. are born preterm (before 37 weeks' gestation), according to a WHO report released Wednesday. In contrast, rates in most European countries, Canada, and Australia range from 7% to 9%.

The higher rate in the U.S. may be explained, in part, by the large numbers of births among teenagers and women aged 35 and older, as well as a high prevalence of twins and triplets implanted after in vitro fertilization (many of whom are delivered early by cesarean section). The WHO report also notes that obesity, diabetes, and hypertension — all common among American women — increase risk for preterm birth.

Other countries that share the 12% rate include Kenya, Turkey, Thailand, Somalia, and Honduras.

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