Premature birth - a problem no one understands
About premature birth
Premature birth describes all babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. In the UK, a baby is generally considered viable if it is born at 24 weeks, yet their chances of survival are only 50%.
Premature birth is the leading cause of childhood mortality in the world today. More significant than infection, trauma or cancer, premature birth affects some 15 million babies across the world each year, nearly 60,000 in the UK, and comes with a high emotional and financial cost to our society.
Being born too soon leaves many babies with lifelong disability. But the cause of premature birth is too often unexplained. And once labour is established, doctors are helpless to stop it.
We need to invest in research on pregnancy and childbirth
Too many mothers and babies are dying because we do not know enough about pregnancy and childbirth. Yet, pregnancy remains one of the least explored aspects of human biology.
The area is scientifically complex and confusing with a history of theories that were misleading. Health problems that occur during pregnancy and childbirth are complex syndromes with multiple causes and multiple outcomes. The biological pathways and interactions that result in adverse pregnancy outcomes can vary by context or population group. Research funding remains largely uncoordinated with a lack of clarity on the part of funders as to where the field is going.
Borne is dedicated to advancing our understanding of pregnancy and childbirth. Better research will lead to better interventions to improve the lives of mothers and babies around the world.