(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
A total of 1,557 babies with birth weights of less than 1.5 kg. were born to 1,314 mothers in 2014. Of those, 84.9% survived. Four years earlier that survival rate was 81.9%.
Looked at another way, the numbers represent an 18% drop in mortality rate for the infants, all of which were born between the 23rd and 31st week of gestation.
The statistics were released on Wednesday as part of an 83-page report on premature babies by the Health Ministry. Nearly 28% of the mothers were over the age of 35 and 2% were over 45.
More than a quarter had undergone fertility treatments.
Nearly a third had multiple pregnancies and deliveries, bearing 379 sets of twins, 31 triplets and two quadruplets.
Nearly three-quarters of the mothers gave birth by cesarean section compared to 68.6% in 2010.
A third of the babies were born weighing less than one kilogram. The use of resuscitation of infants in the delivery room declined from 35.4% in 2010 to 30.8% over the same period.
Death rates among Arab infants were 2% to 8% higher than among Jewish newborns between 2010 and 2014. Male babies born with very low weights were more likely to die than females. In 2014, 136 infants were born with congenital defects, most of which were in the heart. The rate has been stable since 2010.