GAPPS FAQs and Fact Sheets

Preterm Birth and Stillbirth Facts

Globally, more newborns die each year from prematurity than from any other cause. Additionally, three million stillbirths occur each year. While some of these lives could be saved with existing interventions, very little is known about the causes of prematurity and stillbirth. To improve birth outcomes, we must understand the causes to discover long-term solutions. Learn more (PDF)

Preterm Birth

Each year, 15 million babies are born before the completion of 37 weeks of pregnancy. More than one million of these preterm newborns die every year and many other preterm newborns face serious short- and long-term health problems. Medical advancements have improved the survival of preterm newborns in high-income countries, but the goal is to eliminate preterm birth. Learn more: GAPPS Preterm Birth FAQ (PDF) Learn more about preterm birth in Washington State (PDF)


A stillbirth refers to a fetal death occurring late in pregnancy. The majority of stillbirths occur in subSaharan Africa and South Asia, and are strongly linked to maternal health. Most stillbirths go unrecorded and are rarely discussed in health policies—making them effectively invisible. Learn more: GAPPS Stillbirth FAQ (PDF)

GAPPS Glossary

An indicator of a particular disease state, or some other physiological state of an organism.
An effort to develop individual and institutional capability to perform useful research.
The study of the patterns of human disease, health and behaviors.
The process of fetal development, from conception to birth.
At GAPPS, harmonization refers to standardizing samples, definitions and procedures across widespread collection sites to make it easier to compare findings across studies, facilitate new collaborations and augment collective knowledge to speed discoveries and solutions.
A measure taken to improve health or alter the course of a disease. Evidenced-based interventions are those scientifically proven to work.
Less than 2,500g (about 5.5 pounds)
When a woman dies while pregnant or within 42 days of the end of a pregnancy from any cause related to the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes.
Non-governmental organization
National Institutes of Health
Begins at birth and ends 28 completed days after birth. Neonate refers to an infant during this time period.
Begins at 22 completed weeks (154 days) of gestation (when birth weight is normally 500g or about one pound), and ends seven completed days after birth.
A condition in pregnancy signified by high blood pressure and high protein counts in the urine
A birth at less than 37 completed weeks (less than 259 days) of gestation. Preterm births are also referred to as premature births.
A fetal death in late pregnancy. The point in pregnancy when a miscarriage is considered to be a stillbirth varies from country to country. For international comparison, a stillbirth is defined as a late fetal death occurring after at least 28 weeks gestation, or when a fetus weighs at least 1000g (just over 2 pounds).