New country, regional and global data on preterm births now published in the Lancet

Added on : 6 October 2023

By: Quality of Care Network Secretariat

Authors from WHO, UNICEF and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have published a new paper in the Lancet’s special 200th anniversary edition, providing global, regional and country estimates and trends for preterm births (babies born before 37 full weeks of pregnancy).

This is a critical issue for health and development. Complications relating to prematurity are now the leading cause of death in early childhood. For survivors, being born early increases their likelihood of suffering major health problems, developmental delays and disability as children, as well as chronic health conditions into later life.

Read the WHO web story.

All data is now available on WHO’s Global Health Observatory website here

More detail around prevention and treatment of preterm births is available in the recently released multi-partner Born Too Soon report.

For related guidance, see WHO’s recommendations on antenatal care and care for preterm or low birthweight infants.

Photo credits: World Health Organization 2021