Today is World Prematurity Day, which aims to raise awareness of premature births and the concerns of premature babies and their families worldwide.
15 million babies are born prematurely every year and one million of these will not survive. In fact prematurity is the leading cause of death in children under five.
Gillian Parsons, a senior neonatal nurse and founder of Bedford’s Little Mouse Baby Clothing and Gifts, is now helping to raise awareness of World Prematurity Day and support parents of premature babies. They’ve also launched a competition for people to nominate a hospital to win £250 worth of premature baby clothes and accessories.
Speaking to the Bedford Independent, Gillian said: “In the UK 1 in 13 babies is born preterm which accounts for about 60,000 babies. Preterm babies have an increased risk of long-term illness and disability, with the severity of the complications depending on how early the baby is born.
“Thankfully in the UK developments in care have improved survival rates, but there is still a lot of research to do as the cause of most premature births is still unknown, and in less developed countries premature birth is more common and survival rates much worse.”
While some premature births are planned, early arrival’s are usually a surprise. This can cause extra stress and hospitals don’t usually have a budget to keep the specialist clothes premature babies need. Which Gillian adds is vital to their early days: “Keeping a premature baby warm and comfortable is so important and appropriate clothing can play an important role in that.”
You can find out more about World Prematurity Day at bliss.org.uk or tommys.org who are both part of the global network of charities working towards reducing premature births and improving the outcome of premature babies.
To nominate a hospital to win the £250 giveaway visit little-mouse.co.uk.