THE SUBJECT of prematurity is of great interest and concern to pediatrists. About 3,000,000 babies are currently born each year in the United States. Of these, approximately 5 per cent, or 150,000, are premature. Less than 2 per cent of the full term babies die in the neonatal period; nearly 50 per cent of the premature babies account for the same number of deaths. In absolute figures, 60,000 of the 3,000,000 full term babies and 60,000 of the 150,000 premature babies succumb
before the first month of life. It is evident that any attempt to reduce infant mortality further must include a vigorous attack on the problem of prematurity. In New York city, 36 per cent of all infant deaths were attributable to prematurity in 1944 and 1945. Prematurity is listed as ninth in the leading causes of all deaths in the United States in 1945.
The explanation for the