The Neonatal Nurse Association are calling on the government to set up an independent inquiry into premature births.
More than 25 UK babies die each week due to complications arising from premature birth, but little is know about why it happens or how to prevent it.
Dee Beresford, from the Neonatal Nurses Association said: "Nothing could be more relevant than advancing research into the reasons why babies are born prematurely in order to avoid the trauma, distress and potential health issues to these babies and their families."
Patrick Olszowski, campaigns manager at Action Medical Research explains: "Sadly, each year 50,000 babies are born too soon in the UK. Department of Health documents report a lack of understanding about how best to predict or prevent premature birth.
"We are convinced that the government must act to bridge this gap in our understanding, which is the cause of distress and suffering to so many families.”
Calls for an inquiry are also backed by the British Association of Perinatal Medicine, Neonatal Society and the European Pre-term Labour Group, as well as the NCT (formerly the National Childbirth Trust).