New Delhi: Nearly half
of all child deaths in India are caused by pre-term births, the
highest amongst its neighbours, a report by 'Save the Children'
"Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth" said
that every year, 27 million pre-term babies are born in India
which exposes them to an enormous risk of dying early, often
shortly after their birth with the deaths caused being second only
"Early marriage and pregnancy, inadequate nutritional intake by
pregnant women and lack of adequate health interventions were
among other reasons that contributed to such a high rate of
pre-term pregnancy, exposing both the mother and the baby to
risk," Save the Children India CEO, Thomas Chandy said.
For the report, pre-term was defined as 37 weeks of completed
gestation or less, which is the standard WHO definition.
As per Rajiv Tandon, senior advisor for maternal, child and
newborn health, Save the Children India said that the problem of
premature birth needed both attention and intervention if India
wanted to improve its record.
However, a key way to reduce preterm numbers is to find ways to
help all pregnancies go to full term, or 39 weeks.
A number of risk factors for preterm birth have been identified,
including a prior history of preterm birth, underweight, obesity,
diabetes, hypertension, smoking, infection, maternal age (either
under 17 or over 40), genetics, multi-fetal pregnancy (twins,
triplets, and higher), and pregnancies spaced too closely