Premature babies who are born weighing as little as 1lb (0.45kg) can now survive, medics have said.
Ten years ago, a baby born at 26 weeks had a 50% chance of surviving. That has now risen by about 80%.
New treatments – including trials in Nottingham and Leicester – are helping to limit disabilities and boost life expectancy.
Inside Out is on BBC One in the East Midlands on Monday 6 March at 19:30 GMT.