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Published on Sep 25, 2012
The global toll of preterm birth is harsh. The 2009 March of Dimes White Paper on Preterm Birth estimated that worldwide, 13 million babies are born too soon each year. More than 1 million of these premature babies die before their first birthday.
This problem is truly global, affecting families everywhere. Although the vast majority of preterm births and related deaths occur in poor countries, families in wealthier nations are also at risk of having a baby born preterm. In fact, the number of premature babies born in the United States has increased 36 percent over the last quarter of a century.
While 13 million is a huge number, it is an estimate at best, because many countries do not have the capacity to collect adequate data on preterm births.