World Prematurity Day

It’s World Prematurity Day, an international campaign to raise awareness that 15 million babies per year are born too early (before 37 weeks).

Many of these fragile babies will die because their births came before their tiny bodies could sustain life. Often times it is because the facility or home they were born in didn’t have the knowledge or tools to be able to resuscitate or treat them. Some will survive, but with lifelong physical and developmental complications caused by their early births. Others will survive, thrive and live full healthy lives, standing as testament to the great improvements we’ve made in medicine that prevent preterm birth and give premature babies a fighting chance; that is, if they are born in countries where advance maternal health and neonatal intensive care are accessible.

Today, dozens of organizations around the world are calling attention to prematurity so that more mothers, their families and healthcare providers will realize who is at risk and will recognize the signs and contributing factors of premature labor. They’re asking everyone to make it a priority to prevent women from delivering their babies too soon. Here are a few organizations who are honoring World Prematurity Day:

  • Mamaye is a campaign initiated by Evidence for Action, a multi-year programme which aims to improve maternal and newborn survival in sub-Saharan Africa. Check out their facts and figures on preterm birth here.
  • March of Dimes helps moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. If something goes wrong, they offer information and comfort to families. They research the problems that threaten our babies and work on preventing them. Check out their World Prematurity Campaign here.
  • World Prematurity Day has a Facebook page focused on the global problem of premature birth.
  • Every Newborn.org has created an action plan that will provide everyone with a roadmap and joint action platform for the reduction of preventable newborn mortality. It includes a broad group of partners, coordinated by UNICEF and the World Health Organization and including The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Save the Children/Saving Newborn Lives, the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirths, Aga Khan University and Centre for Global Child Health, UNFPA and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. Check out their list of global events for World Prematurity Day here.

How does Every Mother Counts honor World Prematurity Day? Babies who have lost their mothers are up to 10 times more likely to die prematurely (UNFPA 2011). We work every day to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother because we know that when moms have access to the lifesaving healthcare they need, their babies stand a better chance of being born full term.

EMC’s grantees also support newborn health in addition to maternal health by practicing and training on neonatal resuscitation, teaching kangaroo care, early and exclusive breastfeeding, and the importance of nutrition — all simple but critical components to newborn survival.

Topics: Maternal Health