Rise in early births but also survival rates
MORE babies are being born prematurely, but survival rates are higher, a study by Edinburgh University has found.
Early births are significantly more common than they were a quarter of a century ago, largely down to more medically-induced births taking place.
But being born prematurely doesn't pose the risks it once did, with a 10 per cent drop in stillbirths in pre-term labours.
Academics at the university analysed 90,000 Scottish births over 25 years. Premature births are present in two-thirds of stillbirths.
It is hoped the increased understanding of premature births found from this study will help develop better treatment for pregnant women.
Professor Jane Norman, director of the Tommy's Centre for Maternal and Fetal Health Research at the university, said: "The increase in survival rates for babies born prematurely backs up decisions by doctors to medically induce births to prevent potential complications. The increase in diabetes as a factor in premature births is also interesting and may be because there are more women with pre-existing diabetes as well as better diagnosis of expectant mothers with gestational diabetes."
The study found that between 1980 and 1985, 54 in every 1,000 births were premature, rising to 63 in every 1, 000 between 2000 and 2005. The research has been published in the Public Library of Science medicine journal.
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