Emmerdale's Vanessa Woodfield gives birth at 26 weeks after an accidental fall

This week in Emmerdale Vanessa Woodfield gave birth to her baby very prematurely after she had an accidental fall.

Woman going into premature labour.

By Kate Pinney, Tommy's midwife

A premature baby is one born before 37 weeks. Babies born before week 28 (Vanessa’s baby is 26 weeks) are most at risk. Their little bodies are not fully developed and they are at risk of a wide range of health problems and very vulnerable to infection.

Having said that, care for premature babies in this country has come on in leaps and bounds and many babies go on to lead healthy lives.

We’re given to understand that the premature birth of Vanessa’s baby is a result of a fall. A fall at 26 weeks in which the bump gets a blow can start preterm labour or, more likely, damage the placenta (placental abruption), which could go on to require the premature delivery of the baby.

If you ever suffer a blow to your bump or if your bump is affected in a fall, call your midwife even if you think nothing has happened to the bump or baby.

Premature birth has many causes other than accidental trauma to the bump. Tommy's funds pioneering medical research into the causes and prevention of premature birth, and runs an award-winning preterm birth clinic in St Thomas' hospital in London. You can read more about our research into prematurity here.

We also have lots of information on premature birth and premature babies for parents.

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