Using Stats NZ’s integrated data, researchers for the first time have been able to describe the whole story about what it means for NZ babies born prematurely.

Premature babies born in New Zealand have a better chance to “survive and thrive” than in many other countries around the world, a study shows.

In the first research of its kind, researchers are using Statistics NZ’s integrated data to understand more about the lives of New Zealand’s premature babies.

Using the linked, anonymous data, researchers can trace the outcomes of hundreds of thousands of children born in the country from 1998 through to 2015. The data can cover different areas such as health and education, over the course of their life.

The research will help parents and doctors make better-informed decisions about how to care for premature babies.
The research will help parents and doctors make better-informed decisions about how to care for premature babies.

Dr Max Berry, a neonatologist​ at Wellington Hospital, and her team found that even for babies born right at the “cusp of survivability”, there is hope.

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“We can tell parents that their baby, even those born around 500 grams at 24 weeks gestation, has a good chance of survival and leading a healthy life, and doing well at school,” said Berry.

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Dr Max Berry said most premature babies can still survive and thrive even when they are born at about 6 months.
Dr Max Berry said most premature babies can still survive and thrive even when they are born at about 6 months.

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Mayra Rodriguez

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