Tommy's and World Prematurity Day

World Prematurity Day is on Saturday 17 November 2012. It is an international awareness day to raise awareness of the 15 million babies born prematurely around the world each year.

As part of the Born Too Soon network, Tommy’s is part of a global team of organisations working together to raise awareness of premature birth around the world in the lead-up to World Prematurity Day 2012.

Preterm birth is truly a global problem affecting families across the world. Over 60 percent of preterm births occur in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. However, the problem of preterm births is not only confined to low-income countries. There are nearly 60,000 preterm births per year in the UK, and the rate of premature birth is rising.

As part our remit to fund research and prevent premature birth, we are joining this global awareness campaign to raise awareness of premature birth here in the UK, support families affected by premature birth, and promote the need for more research in to prevention.

Find out more about World Prematurity Day.

What is Tommy’s doing about premature birth?

Medical research

Tommy’s raises funds for research in order to prevent premature birth.  Effective prevention of premature birth is vital to reduce incidence rates, yet we still need more research to be able to do this as many premature births remain unexplained: in about 40% of cases, the woman's labour is triggered by an 'unknown cause'. So Tommy’s goal is to develop effective screening tests and treatments so we can prevent premature birth from happening.

We have announced results of a new test that can accurately predict whether a woman will give birth early, and therefore allow for appropriate intervention.


With over 50,000 preterm births per year in the UK, premature birth affects a huge number of families, with sometimes devastating consequences. Our aim is to support as many of those families as we can, through:

  • information on prematurity on our website
  • our midwives: Tommy’s operates a freephone PregnancyLine (0800 0147 800), staffed by midwives (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) who can offer bereavement counselling support for anyone who has lost a baby due to premature birth, or advice to anyone worried about their risk of premature birth.
  • our publications: the free Having a Premature Baby guide was published in January 2012 to provide essential support for parents of babies born too soon, as well as for those parents at risk of giving birth early. Tommy’s is proud that the guide was awarded the runner-up prize for the British Medical Association (BMA) Patient Information Resource of the Year Award (2012)!

Both the production of this guide and the freephone PregnancyLine were made possible thanks to grants from the Asda Foundation.

Lifestyle advice

Improving awareness about lifestyle choices and the links to premature birth/pregnancy complications is extremely important to Tommy's. A lack of adequate diet and nutrition, being obese/underweight, drinking and smoking can all be contributing factors to a baby coming early. We want to support women in making the best choices for themselves and their baby, to ensure the best possible outcome.

The Having a Premature Baby guide can be ordered from Tommy's online store.

Read about Tommy's Five Point Pregnancy Plan.

Supporting Tommy’s and World Premature Day is easy. You can lend us your voice and help spread the word about the charity so that even more mums and dads are aware of our services. You could encourage people to donate, so that together we can fund more research in to the causes and preventions of premature birth.


Join us in celebrating World Prematurity Day in the lead up to Saturday 17th November!


From Monday 12th November we are dedicating our Facebook page to raising awareness of preterm birth – join in the conversation, share photos and experiences, and celebrate all those born too soon.


On Friday 16th November we are joining a worldwide #WorldPrematurityDay Twitter relay, join the UK arm of this from 1-2pm and follow #WorldPrematurityDay for updates.

Find out how to 'tell it for Tommy's' through your blog!

You can donate online, or simply text 'BABY' to 70007 to donate £3 to Tommy’s. Thank you!


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