Prematurity Awareness Month

One in ten babies are born preterm, or before the usual 37 to 40-week pregnancy period is completed. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that around 15 million preterm births occur globally each year. Preterm birth occurs when the baby is born before the 37th week of pregnancy has ended.

Preterm birth contributes to a number of infant deaths, as these babies do not get the essential growth and development that takes place in the final weeks. Socks with the color purple in them have become symbolic of World Prematurity Day since the color represents uniqueness and sensitivity. The health of babies who survive can be affected both short- and long-term. The month of November is National Prematurity Awareness Month, an opportunity to reflect upon nearly 400,000 preterm babies born each year.

Many factors contribute to premature births, and even women who seem to do everything right can still deliver too early. However, we do know that there are some factors related to preterm birth, such as young or advanced maternal age, smoke or drug abuse, stress, depression, or carrying more than one child. As we evolve and adapt to our environment, we must also consider factors such as poverty, lack of access to quality healthcare, and discrimination.

Preterm births can be decreased by implementing the following key strategies:

1. Prevent unintended pregnancies and ensure a comfortable interval between pregnancies.

2. Access to health care for women ages 18-44 years before and during pregnancy, particularly to help manage chronic conditions and modify risk behaviors, such as smoking

3. Offer effective treatments to women at risk of preterm birth; Identify and intervene with pregnant women at risk of giving birth too early.

4. Encourage patients to wait until 39 weeks before giving birth if it is not medically necessary

5. Reduce multiple births when in vitro fertilization is used by transferring only one embryo when appropriate.

The decline in preterm birth rates between the years 2007 and 2014 has largely been driven by the decline in pregnancies among women of all ages, but teens and women in their twenties and twenties to 24 had the most significant impact on the overall decline.

History

With support from its European parent groups, the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI), based in Munich, Germany, presented World Prematurity Day in 2008. This special day quickly became an international campaign when LittleBigSouls (Africa), National Premmie Foundation (Australia), and March of Dimes (USA) adopted it as their co-founders.

Currently, we have the opportunity to further reduce preterm births by capitalizing on our forward momentum, but this requires hard work in many areas.

What are the celebrations?

Around the world, people, groups, and organizations from more than 100 countries celebrate World Prematurity Day with special activities, events, and important commitments to help raise awareness and take action to prevent preterm birth. Additionally, these organizations support better living conditions for families with preterm babies.

Thus, in order to participate in this special event annually, parent organizations, non-profits, hospitals, companies, politicians, healthcare professionals, societies, and media, as well as individual individuals, combine their efforts to participate.

Efforts alone aren't enough. In recognition of National Preterm Birth Awareness Month, we at Cambridge Hospital encourage people - from parents to healthcare providers to public health professionals - to learn more about preterm birth and take action to prevent it.