The cost to business
Premature birth (also called preterm birth) is birth that happens too soon, before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Babies born this early may have more health problems at birth and need to stay in the hospital longer than babies born later. They also may have long-term health problems that can affect their development, education and ability to work later in life.
Premature birth has a major impact on society overall and business in particular. Nearly half a million babies are born prematurely in the United States each year. Expenses for childbirth and newborn care make up a large part of what employers pay in health insurance costs. To learn more about the financial effects of premature birth on business, see our Premature birth: The financial toll on business (.PDF, 459KB).
Last reviewed October 2013
Most common questions
How does the Campaign work to achieve its goals?
The campaign funds research to find the causes of premature birth, and to identify and test promising interventions; educates health care providers and women about risk-reduction strategies; advocates to expand access to health care coverage to improve maternity care and infant health outcomes; provides information and emotional support to families affected by prematurity; and generates concern and action around the problem.
What are the goals of the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign?
The goals of the Prematurity Campaign are to reduce the rate of premature birth, and to raise public awareness about the seriousness of the problem.
Why is the problem of prematurity so important?
Prematurity is the leading killer of America's newborns. Those who survive often have lifelong health problems, including cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, chronic lung disease, blindness and hearing loss.