Awareness raised on World Prematurity Day

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Liverpool Women’s Hospital’s neo natal team running a bake sale. Pic © Liverpool Women’s Hospital

Organisations across Liverpool joined together to support World Prematurity Day to raise awareness on all aspects surrounding the issue.

Globally, 15 million babies are born too soon each year  – that’s 29 premature births every minute – and around one million of these infants will not survive.

The aim of the day was also to raise funds for research into the understanding of what causes preterm birth and what can be done to prevent it.

Researchers at the Harris-Wellbeing Preterm Birth Centre in Liverpool will investigate treatments using a personalised medicine approach, hoping to predict mums at risk of not carrying for the full nine months.

Its director, Professor Zarko Alfirevic, explained: “Our centre is fully behind this initiative and we are very proud to be part of it. Our research endeavours are focusing on families already affected by prematurity, but we want all pregnant women, their families and public at large, to join us in our efforts. We must all work together on better prevention, better therapies and better support for affected families.”

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Members of the Liverpool Women’s Hospital neo-natal team held a bake sale for families and visitors to the unit in order to raise funds and offer support.

Dr Angharad Care is a University of Liverpool Clinical Research Fellow based at the Harris-Wellbeing Centre in the Liverpool Women’s Hospital, which is a specialist maternity hospital that delivers more than 8,000 babies a year.

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The University of Liverpool’s active research Lab joins buildings across Britain by turning purple on World Prematurity Day. Photo by Poppy Backshall © JMU Journalism

She said: “This is the hardest question any doctor must put to a woman about to give birth to a tiny and extremely premature baby: do you want us to try to save your child? You gently explain the most depressing of statistics – that just one child in 10 born at 23 weeks gestation goes home with only minimal disabilities, while three in 10 will leave hospital facing a life blighted with profound mental and physical problems.”

Kelly Wellens, founder of charity Jenson’s Twinkle Stars, told JMU Journalism about her experience with premature pregnancy: “World Prematurity Day is so important as I don’t feel that there is enough support for mothers with premature babies.

“When [my son] Jakob was in intensive care the doctors and nurses were wonderful but support wise I didn’t receive any other support apart from the nurses when looking after Jakob; no outside support and no organisations to get in touch with.

“Four years on I have only just discovered that there is a charity called ‘PPROM’ which offers support and advice to mothers such as myself.”

About Poppy Backshall, JMU Journalism