Health: Born Too Soon

What can doctors--and parents--do about the alarming rise in the number of premature births?

THE BIRTH OF A NEWBORN IS usually a joyful event in the life of a family. The memory of nine often uncomfortable months--not to mention the intense effort of labor and delivery--begins to fade and the focus shifts to a wrinkled little miracle with 10 impossibly cute fingers and toes. Everyone is trying to decide whether the baby looks more like Mom or Dad. There are smiles all around, and in a day or two the happy family will leave the hospital to begin a grand new adventure at home.

Thankfully, this enchanting scenario remains the case most of the time....