Causes Of Premature Birth

Approximately 7 per cent of births are born prematurely (before 37 weeks gestation) every year in Australia. Some babies die as a result of being born too early, but risks are related to the gestation at delivery and birth weight. Those babies that survive often face complications because their organs are too immature to function properly outside the womb.

About a third of premature births occur for no apparent reason. Often they happen with little or no warning.

Some of the most common reasons for premature labour are below;

Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndroms

Multiple Birth




Premature labour

High blood pressure (hypertension)

Placenta Praevia/Placental Abruption

Weak Cervix

A previous premature delivery

If the baby(s) are less than 34 weeks, the caregiver will probably recommend the woman have steroid injections to help ‘mature’ the baby’s lungs for breathing. If the injections are given 24 to 48 hours before the birth they can decrease the chances of the baby(s) developing ‘Respiratory Distress Syndrome’ (or RDS) or bleeding in the brain (known as an intraventricular haemorrhage – IVH). As long as the baby is growing normally and the placenta is working properly every extra day a baby can spend inside the mother’s womb increases its chances of survival.

For further information visit Better Health Channel


Better Health Channel – retrieved 2007


The subject matter provided in these articles is strictly for informational purposes alone and should never be used in the place of a doctor’s advice. Please ALWAYS contact your doctor if you ever have questions or need advice in any area where medical advice is needed or medication is suggested.