World Prematurity Day

Today is World Prematurity Day which aims to raise awareness of the numbers of babies born prematurely each year and the problems that these babies may face. According to the figures on the Bliss website, approximately 15 million babies are born prematurely each year, 1 million of which do not survive. The European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI) states that 1 in 10 babies are born prematurely and that premature babies represent the largest group of child patients. World Prematurity Day

I was one of those premature babies. My twin and I were born two months early, weighing just 3lb each and spent the first 6 weeks of our lives in hospital. My parents were told to prepare themselves for the likelihood of losing one or both of us, particularly the smaller twin (me). Thankfully, my parents were able to take both of us home and neither of us had any medical problems as a result. We were lucky.

Nowadays, survival rates for premature babies are much higher than they were back then – advances in medical technology and routine use of antenatal steroids (to help lung development in babies who need to be delivered early) have helped babies survive at very early gestations although sadly there are many babies who do not survive despite the best attempts of the medical staff. Premature babies are also more likely to have learning or behavioural disabilities or other long-term medical concerns.

Whilst neither of my babies were born prematurely, I do know what it is to sit by an intensive care cot with a very sick newborn baby, desperately praying that all will be well. Being in an intensive care unit can be a real rollercoaster ride and things can change very quickly – one minute things are looking encouraging, the next there is a cause for concern. It is a frightening and anxious time for parents.

The charity Bliss works to help provide care and support for premature babies born in the UK and their families. More information about the work they do can be found on their website.


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14 Comments

  1. November 17, 2014 / 8:24 am

    Bliss sounds like a very important charity, it’s shocking to hear how many children are born premature each year. Popping by from What’s the Story.

    • Louise
      Author
      November 17, 2014 / 11:58 pm

      Yes, I didn’t realise quite how many there were until I read the statistics on the Bliss website – so important to raise awareness.

  2. November 17, 2014 / 8:38 am

    Thank you for this post and for raising awareness about premature babies. My two were both late but my Mum was born at home at approximately 30 weeks back in the late 1930s. No incubators, no special baby units, just a plucky baby who survived despite the odds (although she was baptised within minutes of her birth as no-one believed she would live).

    • Louise
      Author
      November 18, 2014 / 12:00 am

      Wow that is quite a story – your mum was obviously quite a fighter – can understand why she was baptised within minutes of birth, what a miracle that she survived. My eldest daughter was also baptised a few minutes after she was born as she needed risky heart surgery soon after she was born – thankfully she got through it and is now 3 and doing well.

  3. November 17, 2014 / 10:39 am

    Wow, I didn’t know you had a twin 🙂 I was a premature baby too. Thank goodness we made it. My dad used to say that I was barely as big as his hands, I always used to think that he was just teasing me (he likes to do that). Maybe he was right 😉 #whatsthestory.

    • Louise
      Author
      November 18, 2014 / 12:03 am

      Yes, my dad used to say something similar – I suspect he may have been telling the truth though – thinking back to just how tiny my eldest daughter was when she was born and how tiny she looked when held by my husband – she was 5lb 10oz so much bigger than a lot of premature babies. Glad you made it through too! 🙂

  4. November 17, 2014 / 11:27 am

    My goodness you look so tiny in that incubator! It must have been a terribly worrying time for your parents to have two premature babies.

    My daughter was born 7 and a half weeks premature and spent 4 days in SCBU. Thankfully our story had a happy ending.

    • Louise
      Author
      November 18, 2014 / 12:05 am

      Yes, I am sure it was an incredibly worrying time for them both and a huge relief when they finally could take us both home. So glad that your daughter is doing well and only needed to spend 4 days in SCBU.

  5. Kriss MacDonald
    November 17, 2014 / 5:59 pm

    A great charity to raise awareness about! My twins were a month premature because I was beginning to get pre-eclampsia but I was lucky as they were very healthy and already about 6 lbs each!

    • Louise
      Author
      November 18, 2014 / 12:08 am

      So glad that your twins were very healthy and such a good size for being a month early too! 🙂

  6. November 17, 2014 / 6:28 pm

    Gosh, sounds like you had quite an amazing start in life! It is incredible what can be done now to support premature babies, but I can’t imagine how hard it must be to go through that as a parent. Bliss is a very important charity to support xx

    • Louise
      Author
      November 18, 2014 / 12:09 am

      Thank you – definitely important to raise awareness x

  7. November 18, 2014 / 8:52 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story. I’m so glad you and your twin were ok! x x x

    • Louise
      Author
      November 18, 2014 / 11:34 pm

      Thank you – me too! 🙂

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