More severely premature babies surviving, say experts

Study shows improvement in healthcare after very early births


Babies born before 26 weeks in England have a higher chance of surviving than ever before, according to new reports.


The study, carried out by EPICure, looked at premature births in England in 1995 and 2006, found a 13% improvement in survival rates for babies born between 22 and 25 weeks.

In 1995, 40% of babies born between these times and admitted to intensive care lived, and were sent home, but by 2006 this figure had increased to 53%.

The improvement has been attributed to enhanced healthcare measures, including keeping the newborn warm, and providing steroids to improve lung development.

But experts have been quick to point out that the improvement is largely limited to the first few days of life, saying, “we do have increased survival of these babies, but that increase is all happening in the first week of life.

“It’s very disappointing that they are not doing any better having survived the first week.”


When broken down, the results found no improvement at 22 and 23 weeks and survival figures before the 24-week legal abortion limit are still very low.

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