As prematurity awareness month is right around the corner, I wanted to put up some preemie stats so anyone blogging about prematurity in November will have some hard data to use (appreciate a link back).
So here goes…
In the United States 12.5% of all births are premature. In Canada the rate is 8.5% and in Northern Europe it is only 5%. Why the difference? Universal health care, lower rates of obesity, and better diet and lifestyle are probably major factors. The further away from the nexus of fast food the better.
The neonatal intensive care unit care costs us $6 billion every year (never mind all the follow up care, repeat hospitalizations, special ed in school etc.).
Prematurity accounts for 47% of all costs related to infant (less than age one) hospitalization and 27% of all pediatric stays in hospital. That’s right, 1/4 of the costs of hospitalization for every child under the age of 18 is from the NICU. Wow.
A healthy baby at term spends 1.9 days in the hospital. The average for preemies is 12.9 days. My sons spent 66 and 77 days each in the NICU. Some preemies are in for 200 days.
The cost of hospitalization at birth for a healthy term baby is $600. For a premature baby (average of all gestational ages) the cost is $15,100. The combined bill for my two boys was over $750,000.
Prematurity is the leading cause of cerebral palsy.
Imagine if we could have a prematurity rate like Northern Europe. Imagine a United States where only 5% of babies are premature.
Pregnancy complications will always exist. I am a realist and I think “curing” prematurity is not possible in my lifetime, but getting to 5% is something we could achieve in 10 years. If they can do it is Europe, why can’t we?