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Boys more likely to be born premature, study finds

Boys are more likely than girls to be born premature, with an extra 5,700 males born before full term every year in the UK.

Data for 2012 reveals there were 34,400 boys born under 37 weeks in the UK, compared to 28,700 girls.

Premature baby boys have a higher risk of developing health problems because of an early birth, experts found. Credit: PA

Unfortunately, this meant baby boys were at a statistically higher risk of suffering death and disability from being born before the full nine months of pregnancy were complete.

Professor Joy Lawn, a neonatologist and epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) lead an international study on premature births and babies.

She explained: "Baby boys have a higher likelihood of infections, jaundice, birth complications, and congenital conditions but the biggest risk for baby boys is due to pre-term birth.

"For two babies born at the same degree of prematurity, a boy will have a higher risk of death and disability compared to a girl."