World Prematurity Day


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World Prematurity Day is celebrated on November 17th of each year.

World Prematurity Day calls attention to the special issues facing infants born prematurely, celebrates the development and growth of older babies and children who were born prematurely, and is a great day to support members of your community who work with newborns or premature infants, or are parents adjusting with a prematurely born infant.

A full-term pregnancy lasts between 37 and 42 weeks, and “prematurity” describes when a baby is born earlier than 37 weeks (gestational time).  Prematurely born infants face many special issues, which can include breathing difficulties, feeding difficulties, and low birth weight.

Prematurely born babies generally have a longer hospital stay than babies born full-term, and many ends up spending time in NICU units (neonatal intensive care) or special care nurseries until it can be established that they are stable and healthy enough to be brought home.  This can be a very difficult time for many families.

There are some risk factors for having a premature birth, such as the mother’s general health and lifestyle choices and carrying multiple babies (twins or triplets), but for many mothers who deliver a premature baby, it is unexpected, with no discernible cause or identifiable risk factors- mothers under excellent prenatal care, who do everything “right” can still end up delivering their baby prematurely.

If you are pregnant, it is a good idea to learn the warning signs of pre-term labor, which include cramping, regular times contractions, and backache, and discuss pre-term labor risks and planning with your care provider.  If you do believe you are experiencing pre-term labor signs, it is critical to seek medical attention right away, because there are steps that can be taken to manage, delay, or prevent a baby from being born prematurely.

Thanks to advances in modern healthcare, the prognosis for most babies born prematurely has improved dramatically.  Statistically, the earlier a baby is born, the more serious his or her health problems are likely to be.


  1. ​It’s why full-term pregnancies are important

    ​Did you know that the brain, lungs, and other organs don’t develop until the last few weeks of pregnancy?

  2. ​It’s an uphill battle

    ​Each year one in ten American births result in infant mortality.

  3. ​Preemies can grow up to be famous

    ​Many famous historical figures were born prematurely including physicist Albert Einstein, writer Mark Twain, political leader Winston Churchill, French author Victor Hugo, the emperor Napoleon, and scientist Isaac Newton.

  4. ​It produces powerful mother’s milk

    ​One interesting thing happens to mothers who deliver premature babies; the milk mothers produce contains special properties including extra minerals, fat, and proteins that these tiny infants need.

  5. ​Gender plays a role

    ​Boys are more likely than girls to be born prematurely due to an outsized risk of high blood pressure and placenta abnormalities in the mothers.

World Prematurity Day

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