SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – About 15 million babies are born pre-term every year around the world. That’s about 1 in 10 babies.
The numbers have improved. Between 2006 and 2013 there were 231,000 fewer babies born prematurely, saving about $11.9 billion in health care costs, but the United States still has one of the worst preterm birth rates among developed countries.
Last year, just over 11 percent of babies were born prematurely in the U.S. The continued loss of young life is why Dr. Andrew Balder, the Chair of Project Baby Springfield, tries to inform people about premature birth.
“The death of one baby is a family tragedy, but more than one is a community tragedy. So we look at that and we look at Springfield itself, and look at our prematurity rates and the excess number of deaths of infants we see each year and it just got us interested in saying what can we do about this,” said Dr. Balder.
Dr. Balder said more than 9 percent of babies born in Springfield were born prematurely in 2012. He said that’s an improvement. Tower Square will be illuminated purple Monday night in support of World Prematurity Day.