Why we need World Prematurity Day

The problem of premature birth in the UK needs to be addressed. Too many parents are currently enduring this anxious experience that can have a lasting impact.

November 2016

World Prematurity Day happens every year to raise awareness of the problem of premature birth.

Around 60,000 babies in the UK are born too soon every year and could suffer lifelong consequence for their healthy and development as a result of this early start.

60,000 babies is enough to fill 280 primary schools. This is simply too high.

Tommy’s is committed to funding pioneering research into this issue to reduce the number of early births in the UK and provide the best care for women who experience it.

Professor Andy Shennan is the Clinical Director of Tommy’s Preterm Surveillance Clinic at our prematurity research centre in St Thomas’ Hospital, London.

The clinic helps 1,300 new women every year and has already reduced premature births locally and regionally by more than 10%.

Professor Shennan says we are already making significant steps in the right direction.

“In the last 10 years there have been radical differences, even a year ago there are things we weren’t doing which are now national recommendations. With Tommy’s help we have been able to set up similar clinics elsewhere with whom to share best practise and learn from each other.”

In honour of World Prematurity Day, we are relaunching our ‘My premature baby’ app for preemie parents who need a little extra support.

We know that the period of time after you’ve had your baby can be very difficult and our app is designed to ease some of that stress.

Premature babies often grow and develop at a slower rate than babies who were born full term. If you baby is not yet reaching milestones that other little ones are it can be a sources of great anxiety for parents.

Our app allows you to record events, thoughts and milestones as well as tracking you baby’s weight so that you can keep an easy and accurate track of how your baby is doing.

You can read more about your baby’s growth and development here

Feeing can be another cause for concern amongst mothers are your baby’s diet will need to be carefully balanced to suit their tiny digestive system while meeting the needs of their growing body.

Our app makes feeding one less thing to think about as you can record the times of each feed, what type of feed it was and how much food you’ve given your baby.

You can read more about feeding your premature baby here

One of the hardest things about going through any kind of pregnancy complication is the isolation it can make parents feel.

When your friends are bouncing healthy babies born full term on their knee it can make you feel like the only parent in the world having problems.

The truth is that with 60,000 babies born too soon every year, there are many parents in the same situation as you.

Sharing stories of a mutual experience, swapping advice and discussing concerns common to many preemie parents can be very comforting.

Our app gives you the ability to find other parents going through similar experiences on a map and get in touch.

You can download our app for free here

It is important to talk if you are having problems coping following premature birth. Doctors, midwives, friends and family are there at this tricky time so that you don’t have to deal with everything alone.

Our midwives are also on hand with information, advice and support from 9 – 5, Monday – Friday so please do ring if you need someone to talk to - 0800 0147 800.

You can read our advice about feeling overwhelmed after premature birth here

We need World Prematurity Day.

60,000 babies being born too soon is unacceptable. Early birth can be a heavy emotional burden on families and can lead to lifelong health issues or special education needs.

In the worst cases a baby being born before they are ready can tragically result in death and prematurity is the highest leading cause of neonatal death in the UK.

Help us make a big noise about the problem of prematurity in the UK this World Prematurity Day. We want to more towards a place where no parent has to endure this.

If you want to download our free app for parents of premature babies you can do so here.

You can read all of our information pages about premature birth here.

If you’re interested in the work of our Preterm Surveillance Clinic and want to hear more about what Tommy’s is doing to address premature birth you can read all about our prematurity research here.

If you want to make a contribution, however big or small, to Tommy’s to help support our prematurity research you can do so here – thank you so much.