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The World Health Organisation promotes World Prematurity Day to raise awareness of the 1 in 10 babies worldwide that are born prematurely (before the 37th week of pregnancy). Premature birth – when babies are born before the 37th week of pregnancy – is the leading cause of death in newborn babies and the second most common cause of death in children under the age of 5.

As well as the risk to their lives, infants who are born early are more prone to serious long-term health problems like heart defects, lung disorders and neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy. They may also reach developmental milestones later and can struggle at school.

In 2013, there were 51,000 preterm births in England and Wales, around 7% of live births. The UK charity Bliss, a partner in the World Prematurity Network (the global coalition of organisations behind World Prematurity Day), campaigns to improve the outcomes of pre-term babies and their mothers in the UK. This pack focusses on material relating to NHS maternity and neonatal services in England


Documents to download

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