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Vatican newspaper draws attention to ‘hidden epidemic’ of premature births

January 11, 2010

Dr. Carlo Bellieni, who teaches in the Department of Obstetrics, Pediatrics, and Reproductive Medicine at the University of Siena, has written an article for L’Osservatore Romano in which he discusses the “hidden epidemic” of premature births. Rates of premature births increased by 25% in France from 1995 to 2005 and by 30% in the United Kingdom over the last 25 years. 540,000 of newborns-- 12.8% of total births-- are born prematurely in the United States, an increase of 20% since 1990.

One of the factors related to the rise of premature births is the increased incidence of postponing of childbearing until after age 35. In this context, Dr. Bellieni refers to a “paradoxical inverse shame” in which one speaks freely about “sex and contraception” but “absolutely does not speak about the desire and instinct to have children.”


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