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Together for babies born too soon – Caring for the future

by Public Health Update

World Prematurity Day is a global movement to raise awareness of premature birth. World Prematurity Day is observed each year on 17 November. It is an opportunity to call attention to the heavy burden that preterm birth causes on parents, families, friends and on former preterm born children. World Prematurity Day is a key moment to focus global attention on the burden of preterm birth, leading to long term morbidity and infant mortality.

Preterm is defined as babies born alive before 37 weeks of pregnancy are completed. There are sub-categories of preterm birth, based on gestational age:

  • extremely preterm (less than 28 weeks)
  • very preterm (28 to 32 weeks)
  • moderate to late preterm (32 to 37 weeks).

Induction or caesarean birth should not be planned before 39 completed weeks unless medically indicated.

2020 Theme

World Prematurity Day 2020: Together for babies born too soon – Caring for the future.


  • Every year, 15 million babies are born preterm (i.e. before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy) – more than one baby out of ten, worldwide.
  • Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age, responsible for approximately 1 million deaths in 2015 (Source of info).
  • Three-quarters of these deaths could be prevented with current, cost-effective interventions.
  • Across 184 countries, the rate of preterm birth ranges from 5% to 18% of babies born.


  • Active involvement with long, direct periods of care and the physical and emotional closeness of baby and parents during birth, delivery and hospitalisation can have great benefits on the short- and long-term health of the baby.
  • Engage parents from the beginning with good communication, education, participation in care giving, and decision-making.
  • Skin-to-skin contact as early and as continuously as possible has positive and protective effects on the preterm baby’s health.
  • Each level of newborn care needs to have the necessary staff per shift, equipment, commodities, supplies and diagnostics to ensure safe care for babies born too soon.

Source of info: WHO & Healthy Newborn Network

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1 comment

Dirgha Raj Shrestha December 6, 2020 - 11:22 am

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