0954 GMT February 17, 2020
The rate of premature delivery within less than 37 weeks of pregnancy rose to 6.44 percent between 2013 and 2014 from 3.31 percent between 1997 and 1998, according to the research of 2.1 million birth registrations filed with Statistics Korea done by professor Im Dal-oh of Kongju National University and Park Sang-hwa, a researcher at Seoul National University, Yonhap reported.
The premature birthrate was 56.72 percent for twins and higher-order multiples between 2013 and 2014, much higher than 4.66 percent for single babies.
Im said babies born prematurely make up about 10 percent of all births around the world. Such babies are more susceptible to diseases and can lead to death if medical conditions are poor.
Any premature delivery within 24 weeks of pregnancy can lead to death because the babies' brains are not fully formed. Babies born after 32 weeks of conception have little brain damage, he said.
"We are witnessing a growing number of twins and other higher-order multiples and premature deliveries due to late marriages and the development of the assisted reproductive technology," Im said, stressing the need for the government to come up with medical programs to prevent and manage premature deliveries.