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16 babies will come early in NZ today

For immediate release 17 November 2017

16 babies will come early in NZ today (World Prematurity Day)


If the averages play true, today there will be 16 babies born premature in New Zealand on World Prematurity Day.

Babies are classified as premature if they are born before 37 weeks gestation. A normal pregnancy lasts 40 weeks.

Approximately 1 in 10 of babies born in New Zealand every year arrive early. That's one every 90 minutes, and over 5,000 in total, EVERY YEAR. Many arrive very early – some as early as 16 weeks early (24 weeks gestation).

17 November is World Prematurity Day. Worldwide, one baby in ten is born premature. Annually, about 15 million babies arrive early. World Prematurity Day was officially launched and celebrated for the first time in 2011. In seven short years, it has grown exponentially as a global day around the world marked in more than 50 countries.

Some stays in a neonatal unit last just a few days, others take a very long time. For example, from the personal stories on The Neonatal Trust websitewww.neonataltrust.org.nz:

Charlotte, born 23 weeks 3 days, weighing 650grams - 132 days before going home for the first time.

Samuel, born 23 weeks 3 days, weighing 668 grams - 116 days before going home for the first time.

Elias, born 24 weeks 5 days, weighing 890 grams - 123 days before going home for the first time.

Today, Volunteers co-ordinated by The Neonatal Trust are providing morning teas for parents with a baby in a neonatal unit, as well as the staff that care for them.


Neil O’Styke, Executive Director of The Neonatal Trust, which is supporting World Prematurity Day in New Zealand, said: “On 17 November teams will be organising morning teas for the fantastic and dedicated staff in every Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) as well as the families in the units on this day”.


“Each year, over 5,000 premature babies and their families make the journey through neonatal intensive care in this country. World Prematurity Day is a chance to celebrate our premature babies and raise awareness of the challenges they and their families face.”

The Neonatal Trust provides support for families with babies in a neonatal unit. This includes helping in practical ways by providing information, supporting research, purchasing or contributing to the cost of equipment and also providing emotional and other support in order to ‘make a difficult start to life a little bit easier’.
Examples include: https://goo.gl/O69Lpc

The Trust receives no government funding and so relies on the generosity of the New Zealand community to continue providing the support that they do. For those wishing to donate or learn more about the support to neonatal families can visit the Givealittle page established for ‘Neonatal November’:
https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/neonatal-november-2017

- ENDS -


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