Cutting Back on Premature Births

Because the trend toward premature births and deliveries in recent years is escalating -- by 22 percent between 1995-2004 -- and can lead to many physical and mental health problems down the road, according to Danish researchers, doctors and parents must find ways to cut back on them.

Although fertility drugs, multiple pregnancies and elective deliveries were partially to blame, researchers pointed to other lifestyle contributors, among them smoking and obesity.

As the study points out, it's true preemie deliveries account for less than 10 percent of all births, but also 75 percent of all neonatal deaths and most neonatal intensive care admissions.

That's why expectant mothers should do all they can to reduce every preventable health risk. A few suggestions to get you started:

British Medical Journal, Vol. 332, No. 7547, April 22, 2006: 924-925

BBC News April 21, 2006

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