5 Things You Should Know About Prematurity

World Prematurity Day takes place on 17th November 2020. It's a day dedicated to raising awareness of premature birth and the impact is has on families.

Mamamade have teamed up with Jess Gibson, award-winning blogger and mum of Theo, born prematurely at 25 weeks. Jess has written a guest blog on 5 things we should all know about prematurity, based on her own experiences.

 

Before I went through the experience of having my son prematurely at 25 weeks, I had no real awareness about prematurity. Delivering my baby early certainly wasn’t on my list of worries during pregnancy, but globally an estimated 15 million babies are born too early every year.

Today, on World Prematurity Day, I have joined forces with Mamamade to help raise awareness of this important subject. Here are 5 things I want you to know about prematurity, as a preemie Mum.

1 in 13 babies in the UK are born prematurely

A baby is classed as premature when it’s born before 37 weeks gestation. The World Health Organisation has created classifications depending on the gestation, ranging from extremely preterm (less than 28 weeks) to very preterm (28 to 32 weeks) and moderate to late preterm (32 to 37 weeks). The earlier the baby is born the more complications it is likely to have.

The experience can have a huge mental health impact on the parents

Whether your baby is in the neonatal unit for a few days or five months, the mental health impact on parents who experience prematurity is huge. The most common issues include PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), postnatal depression, stress and anxiety. Being separated from your baby at birth and meeting them through a plastic incubator is something no new parent ever imagines. Fortunately there counselling and therapy support available to parents to help them through. Be kind and patient if you know a parent who has been affected by prematurity.

The effects of prematurity don’t end at discharge

Just because a premature baby is discharged from hospital, it does not mean they are now like any other newborn baby. They are much more medically vulnerable and have a weaker immune system compared to a baby born at term. They may also come home on oxygen or with a feeding tube. It’s very common for the parents to feel extremely protective of their premature baby and may want to keep home visits for a minimum whilst they settle into their home after a difficult time.

Premature babies can face a long list of medical complications and have additional needs

Because they are born into the world when their bodies are not fully developed, premature babies can face a very complex list of complications. Some of these complications are short term, whilst others can last a lifetime. We are very fortunate in the UK to have an outstanding level of neonatal care, giving babies the best possible chance to go on and live a long and healthy life.

Premature babies are miracles and can go on to thrive

The strength and resilience of a premature baby is remarkable and with the right care, they can go on to thrive and live healthy lives. Famous people born prematurely include Albert Einstein, Tyson Fury, Stevie Wonder, Sir Issac Newton and Anna Pavlova.

About The Author

Jess Gibson (@thetravelista) holding son Theo

Jess Gibson is a busy working Mum of 1 and lives in Leeds with her partner Scott and two-year-old son Theo. She created her blog, The Travelista, in 2013, which became an award-winning UK travel blog. Since having her son in 2018, Jess also uses her channels to share her motherhood journey and to raise awareness for prematurity. 


Follow Jess on Instagram @thetravelista.

For more information about prematurity read the WHO’s Preterm fact sheet or visit bliss.org.uk

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