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Healthcare professionals to help tackle Britain's most prolific baby killer

March 2007 sees the launch of Stop Premature Births, an important new campaign from Tommy's, the baby charity, which funds research into the causes and prevention of premature birth, miscarriage and stillbirth.

Shockingly, premature birth is the single biggest killer of babies in the UK, causing more deaths than meningitis, leukaemia, cot death and transport accidents combined. More work is urgently required to understand why premature birth happens and how it can be prevented.

Premature birth is on the rise in the UK and over 50,000 babies are born prematurely (before 37 weeks' gestation) each year in this country, putting thousands of tiny lives at risk, and affecting up to 100,000 parents each year. 

Tommy's funds the largest maternal and research centres in Europe, with staff committed to understanding the reasons why so many babies are born too soon, thereby developing preventive treatments so that more babies' lives can be saved. Tommy's Stop Premature Births campaign is asking healthcare professionals to help them spread awareness of the dangers of premature birth to their patients, using the number of free resources Tommy's offers as part of its successful Information Programme. 

Tommy's chief executive, Jane Brewin, said: "It seems crazy that in a time when we are getting better and better at caring for premature babies once they are born, that we are neglecting to find out the reasons why so many babies are being born too soon. The work being done by Tommy's is leading the way in this area, but we need all the help we can get to make sure that we can continue to find out the causes of prematurity, to ensure more lives can be saved."

For free copies of "Tommy's guide to being pregnant", "Tommy's guide to prepregnancy care" or Tommy's Information Cards, healthcare professionals can call the Tommy's Information Team on 0870 777 30 60 or log on to