We’re pleased to see that Emmerdale is raising awareness of the consequences of premature birth through their storyline this week about Vanessa Woodfield, tragically giving birth prematurely at 26 weeks after an accidental fall.
Vanessa doesn't realise the baby has been harmed in the fall and she is shocked she goes into labour. Many of our supporters who have experienced premature birth will identify with the trauma of what happens next when the baby is born and the doctor has to explain that they will need to take it hour by hour.
60,000 babies suffer from preterm birth each year in the UK, and they can suffer lifelong health problems or death as a result. This is one of the highest rates in Europe. We believe that more research is needed to reduce this figure and our aim is to halve it by 2020.
Vanessa’s baby was born early due to abdominal trauma but in many casespremature birth has an underlying medical cause and if we can detect and treat it early in pregnancy, we will be able to have an impact on the number of babies born prematurely.
That’s why much of our current prematurity research is devoted to finding a screening test and developing treatments that will delay or prevent premature birth once the woman is found to be high risk.
"I hope our story gives couples some reassurance that there is light at the end of the tunnel because after 9 miscarriages we have our miracle on the way"
Born weighing less than a bag of sugar over twenty-one years ago, Harriet has come a long way to today, in her final year of University, writing her dissertation on premature infants.
Born 12 weeks prematurely and weighing less than a pound, Baby Manushi is finally going home after spending her first six months in hospital.
Sarra and Chris Hoy’s son, Callum, was born at 29 weeks, but has gone from strength to strength.