What does the US have in common with Kenya, Turkey, Thailand, East Timor and Honduras? Answer: high rates – around 12% – of preterm births, according to a new study from the World Health Organization. Most European countries and Canada have rates around 7% to9%. The report notes, “Underlying maternal conditions (e.g. renal, disease, hypertension, obesity and diabetes) increase the risk of maternal complications (e.g., pre-eclampsia) and medically-indicated preterm birth. The worldwide epidemic of obesity and diabetes is, thus, likely to become an increasingly important contributor to global preterm birth. In one region in the United Kingdom, 17% of all babies born to diabetic mother were preterm, more than double the rate in the general population.
WHO: Born Too Soon, Global Action Report on Preterm Birth