17 November is World Premature Day and I encourage all of you to take a minute to consider the statistics of premature births and the extra support that these infants desperately need.
South Africa and World Premature Day
In South Africa about 14% of all babies are born too early (before 37 weeks) and are subsequently classified as preemie babies needing special care to survive. The mortality rate of premature babies is 3X higher than in newborns and prematurity is the leading cause of newborn deaths while still the second leading cause of death after pneumonia in children under the age of 5.
Those are worrying statistics and that is why having a day dedicated to creating awareness around prematurity is so important.
You may have had a premature baby yourself or someone close to you has, and either know firsthand or can empathize with parents who have faced the challenges and joys it brings.
I have had the privilege to attend two events where I have spoken to specialists resident at neonatal centres in Cape Town about the challenges of medical care for preemies. I have heard first hand of the success rate of these units and how dedicated the doctors and nurses are in saving every life born early.
Advances in medicine has meant more children survive if provided with proper medical care, however the earlier the child is born, the higher the risk and instances of complications. NICU and recovery is a traumatic experience for parents and although they know their child is being taken care of, they just wish they could hold them in their arms and make it all better.
Hospitals can only help parents for as long as they are admitted and for checkups. Once they leave, parents face another set of challenges at home which are often forgotten or unknown.
Some mothers are marginalized, blamed and suffer the emotional and financial burdens alone. Feeding and simple tasks such as dressing your child and changing their nappy can be overwhelming as they are so fragile and preemie clothing is not easily found.
Special premature nappies are needed to offer fragile babies optimum protection and can fit their little bodies. Huggies® have understood this need and have a Preemies nappy range, for when love comes early.
I take for granted that my children were born at full term, that I am privileged to have access to private medical care, and that I have a loving support network to help care for my children. I am fortunate, however many parents face a different reality, where there is so much love and hope for their preemie baby, though they need a helping hand and support from their community.
Please go Like the World Prematurity Day Page on Facebook and read the comments and see the photos that moms and dads share to lift the spirits of other parents who may be feeling helpless right now. Little Steps is also a trusted educational resource on prematurity and please share their link to anyone who may need their support. Show your support and wear purple for #WorldPrematurityDay.
This is a sponsored post for Huggies®. Stock images supplied.