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Premature Birth (Prematuritas) Survivors

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  • Albert Einstein, Nobel Prize in Physics 1921 (1879 - 1955)
    Albert Einstein (14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955; Hebrew: אלברט איינשטיין) the first child of the Jewish couple Hermann and Pauline Einstein, nee Koch was born in Ulm, Württemberg Germany and is often re...
  • Anna d'André (1881 - 1931)
    Anna Pavlova was a Russian prima ballerina during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After attending the Imperial Ballet School, she made her company debut in 1899 and quickly became a prima balle...
  • Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)
    Samuel Langhorne Clemens Son of John Marshall Clemens and Jane Lampton Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, was known as America’s “greatest humorist.” His first occupation...
  • Sir Isaac Newton, PRS (1643 - 1727)
    Sir Isaac Newton , PRS (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727 [OS: 25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726]) was an English mathematician, astronomer, theologian, author and physicist (described in his own day as a ...

This project is for those premature birth babies who survived past 5 years.

If the infant died before his/her 5th birthday, see the Infant Deaths Project.

A premature birth is when a baby is born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks. Almost 1 of every 10 infants born in the United States are premature, or preemies. There are 2 kinds of classifications: (1) Gestational age less than 37 weeks with same fetal weight for pregnancy (SMK). (2) Gestational age of less than 37 weeks with a small weight for gestation (KMK).

Often, the specific cause of premature birth isn't clear. However, there are known risk factors of premature delivery, including:

  • Having a previous premature birth
  • Multiple miscarriages or abortions
  • Pregnancy with twins, triplets or other multiples
  • An interval of less than six months between pregnancies
  • Conceiving through in vitro fertilization
  • Problems with the uterus, cervix or placenta
  • Smoking cigarettes or using illicit drugs
  • Some infections, particularly of the amniotic fluid and lower genital tract
  • Some chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease
  • Being underweight or overweight before pregnancy
  • Stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one or domestic violence
  • Physical injury or trauma
  • Blood incompatibility

Important growth and development happen throughout pregnancy - especially in the final months and weeks. Because they are born too early, preemies weigh much less than full-term babies. They may have health problems because their organs did not have enough time to develop. The more premature the more serious the potential health problems.

While not all premature babies experience complications, being born too early can cause short-term and long-term health problems. Generally, the earlier a baby is born, the higher the risk of complications. Birth weight plays an important role, too. Some problems may be apparent at birth, while others may not develop until later. The following are short-term or long-term complications that a baby born too early MAY experience:

  • Breathing problems
  • Feeding & gastrointestinal difficulties
  • Temperature control problems
  • Brain problems (intraventricular hemorrhage)
  • Blood problems (anemia, jaundice)
  • Metabolism problems (hypoglycemia)
  • Immune system problems (higher risk of infection)
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Developmental delay (impaired learning)
  • Vision problems
  • Hearing problems
  • Dental problems
  • Behavioral & psychological problems
  • Chronic health issues (increased risk of SIDS, infections, asthma, feeding problems that develop or persist)


  • Premature birth can happen to anyone. In fact, many women who have a premature birth have no known risk factors.
  • Preterm birth rates decreased from 2007 to 2014, and CDC research shows that this decline is due, in part, to declines in the number of births to teens and young mothers. However, the preterm birth rate rose for the second straight year in 2016.
  • Racial and ethnic differences in preterm birth rates remain.
    • For unknown reasons, black women are more likely to experience premature birth than are women of other races. For example, in 2016, the rate of preterm birth among African-American women (14%) was about 50 percent higher than the rate of preterm birth among white women (9%).
  • Every year, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm (before 37 completed weeks of gestation), and this number is rising.
  • Across 184 countries, the rate of preterm birth ranges from 5% to 18% of babies born.
  • Approximately 1 million children die each year due to complications of preterm birth.
  • More than 60% of preterm births occur in Africa and South Asia, but preterm birth is truly a global problem. In the lower-income countries, on average, 12% of babies are born too early compared with 9% in higher-income countries. Within countries, poorer families are at higher risk.
  • The 10 countries with the greatest number of preterm births:
    • India: 3 519 100
    • China: 1 172 300
    • Nigeria: 773 600
    • Pakistan: 748 100
    • Indonesia: 675 700
    • United States of America: 517 400
    • Bangladesh: 424 100
    • Philippines: 348 900
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo: 341 400
    • Brazil: 279 300

Survival Rates

  • Babies born at 23 weeks have a 17% chance of survival
  • Babies born at 24 weeks have a 39% chance of survival
  • Babies born at 25 weeks have a 50% chance of survival
  • From 32 weeks onwards, most babies are able to survive with the help of medical Technology [EPICure data]
  • Babies born too early (especially before 32 weeks) have higher rates of death and disability. In 2015, preterm birth and low birth weight accounted for about 17% of infant deaths.
  • Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age, responsible for approximately 1 million deaths in 2015.
    • Three-quarters of these deaths could be prevented with current, cost-effective interventions.

Notable Survivors of Preterm Births:

  1. Babygaga - 15 Stories of Premature Babies that Survived Against the Odds
  2. Wikipedia - Preterm birth
  • James Elgin Gill (born on 20 May 1987 in Ottawa, Canada) was the earliest premature baby in the world, until that record was broken in 2014. He was 128 days premature (21 weeks and 5 days gestation) and weighed 1 pound 6 ounces (624 g). He survived.
  • Wayde van Niekerk (born at 29 weeks on 15 Jul 1992, weighing just over 1Kg became a successful athlete & in 2016 won South Africa’s 1st gold medal)
  • Historical figures who were born prematurely include:

Resources & Further Reading: