November 17th is World Prematurity Day.
As the mom of a premature infant I have written a lot about our own pre-term birth experience. We are extraordinarily fortunate that our daughter was born healthy and does not appear to have any side effects
Created by European parent organizations in 2008, World Prematurity Day was designated to raise awareness of preterm birth and the concerns of preterm babies and their families worldwide.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that worldwide, 15 million babies are born preterm and more than a million die as a result. Babies who survive often have lifelong health problems such as cerebral palsy, vision and hearing loss, and intellectual disabilities.
Why is it so important to celebrate World Prematurity Day?
By celebrating this day we can increase understanding of pregnancy healthcare and educate families about premature birth. With increased awareness about the importance of pre and post-natal care and supporting political action in women’s healthcare, we can help support healthy families.
What makes a premature baby?
A premature baby is one who is born before 37 weeks gestational age.
- A full term baby is between 37-42 weeks
- A late preterm baby is between 34-36 weeks (most preemies are born in this stage)
- Moderately preterm infants are born between 32 and 34 weeks
- Very preterm infants are born less then 32 weeks
- Extremely preterm are born before 25 weeks
A few other facts about premature birth:
- Premature birth is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five worldwide.
- The closer a baby comes to full term, generally the fewer the complications.
- Babies born too early may have more health issues than babies born on time, and may face long-term health problems that affect the brain, the lungs, hearing or vision.
Warning signs of pre-term labor:
- 5 or more uterine contractions in 1 hour
- low, dull backache
- menstrual like cramps in lower abdomen
- pelvic pressure that feels like your baby is pushing down
- leaking watery fluid (may indicate “water” has broken)
If you do think you are having premature labor it is critical to seek medical attention right away because there are often steps that can be taken to delay or prevent a baby from being born prematurely.
My experience with premature birth was due to a very rare condition called a placental abruption, where the placenta separates away from the uterus.
It is very important that at 28 weeks pregnant women start doing “kick counts.” Counting your baby’s fetal movement is one of the best ways to determine fetal health inside the womb in between doctors appointments. It is what made us decide to go to the hospital and ultimately saved our babies life.
After spending some time in the NICU we brought our 4lb 3oz baby girl home and she has been keeping us on our toes ever since.
“There are two ways to live your life. One is though nothing is a miracle. The other is though everything is. ” – Albert Einstien. Born prematurely May 13, 1879.
Join the celebration on National Prematurity Day!
Read other amazing prematurity stories at www.facebook.com/WorldPrematurityDay
Sarah, Mother Nurse Love