World Prematurity Day

World Prematurity Day

World Prematurity Day is marked on November 17th annually with the aim of increasing understanding of premature births and the issues faced by prematurely born babies and their families around the globe. Approximately 15 million babies are delivered prematurely every year, making up about one-tenth of all newborns worldwide.  Premature birth occurs when a baby is born too early, before completing 37 weeks of pregnancy. Babies born prematurely are at risk of severe complications that can be life-threatening and result in long-term health issues.

Health Challenges in Premature babies

Babies born prematurely are at risk of experiencing enduring consequences. Specifically, these may include conditions such as cerebral palsy, cognitive developmental delays, visual and hearing problems, as well as compromised overall health and growth.

Babies that are late preterm (born between 34 and 36 weeks) might experience lasting problems such as behavioural and socioemotional disorders as well as learning difficulties.


When Silke Mader became pregnant with twins in 1997, it all began. However, one died within a week after the preterm delivery at 25 weeks gestation, while the other is currently a healthy adolescent growing up. Nevertheless, Silke Mader learned from this difficult experience that the treatment of preterm neonates has gaps based on geography. Consequently, the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI) was created with her assistance in 2008, and it launched World Prematurity Day.


  • Raising public awareness of premature births and preterm babies
  • Educating people on the significance of regular pregnancy check-ups to prevent preterm delivery
  • Educating expectant mothers to manage their blood sugar and blood pressure levels

Premature birth is more likely to occur in some cases of health issues. These include:

  • Issues with the uterus, cervix, or placenta
  • Infections, especially those in the amniotic fluid and lower genital area
  • Persistent health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Physical injuries or harm to the body

Signs or symptoms that might indicate you are going into preterm labour

  • A difference in your vaginal discharge (it may become watery, mucus-like, or contain blood), or you may have more discharge than usual.
  • Feeling pressure in your pelvis or lower abdomen, as if your baby is pushing down
  • Experiencing a constant, mild backache
  • Suffering from belly cramps, possibly with or without diarrhea
  • Having regular or frequent contractions that cause your belly to tighten like a fist. These contractions might be either painful or not painful.
  • Your water breaks

Steps to lower your risk of preterm labor and premature birth:

  • Prepare your body for pregnancy by ensuring it’s in good health. Get into a healthy weight range prior to getting pregnant.
  • Seek treatment for medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, or thyroid issues.
  • Protect yourself from infections by getting vaccines, washing your hands regularly, and avoiding undercooked meat, fish, or eggs.
  • Use safe sex practices to prevent sexually transmitted infections.
  • Eat well and stay active every day. This can reduce stress and help you maintain a healthy weight while pregnant.
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol, and harmful drugs.


If you notice any signs of preterm labor, contact your healthcare provider immediately. They can provide treatment to either stop it or enhance your baby’s well-being before delivery. Discuss with your provider to decide the best treatment for you.


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