Every year, over 15 million babies are born premature (under 37 weeks) and over 1 million die because of prematurity.
According to a study in The Lancet , there are five interventions for all 39 countries with higher development that could lead to a 5% relative reduction of preterm birth rate from 9·59% to 9·07% of livebirths:
- smoking cessation (0·01 rate reduction),
- decreasing multiple embryo transfers during assisted reproductive technologies (0·06),
- cervical cerclage (0·15),
- progesterone supplementation (0·01), and
- reduction of non-medically indicated labour induction or caesarean delivery (0·29).
These findings translate to roughly 58 000 preterm births averted and total annual economic cost savings of about US billion.