Premature birth: possible causes
According to estimates, 15 million infants (more than 1 in 10) are born prematurely every year.
The delivery of a baby before 37 weeks of gestation is known as preterm birth.
Based on gestational age, preterm birth is divided into subcategories:
- Extremely preterm (baby is born before 28 weeks of gestation)
- Very preterm (baby is born between 28 and 32 weeks of gestation)
- Moderate to late preterm (baby is born between 32 and 37 weeks of gestation)
The cause of preterm birth is usually not a single factor but a wide variety of conditions, which may affect the pregnant woman and/or the fetus. Some of the common causes that can lead to preterm birth include infections, multiple pregnancies, stress, and chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. However, in many cases, doctors can’t find a cause for preterm birth. Genetics may also play a role in preterm birth.