17 November – World Prematurity Day

The duration of pregnancy is 39-40 weeks, which are necessary for the foetus to reach full developmental maturity. Each week spent in the mother’s womb gives the baby a higher chance of remaining in full health. Meanwhile, one in ten children is born prematurely, or before the 37th week of pregnancy. It is not without a reason that the Symbol of the World Prematurity Day is 10 hanging socks, including one tiny sock among the bigger ones. This picture illustrates the worldwide statistics of premature births.

The smallest premature babies are born before the 28th week of pregnancy. They weigh less than 1000 g. Sadly, the sooner they are born and the smaller they are, the slimmer their chances of survival. However, the stories of the smallest preterm babies born around the world or in Poland prove that attempts at rescuing them make sense. Despite poor prognoses, even such weak newborns can surprise us with their fighting spirit and ultimately leave the hospital as completely healthy children. Nevertheless, we should remember that premature babies are also called high-risk infants. The more extreme the prematurity, the greater the child’s immaturity, which leads to more serious problems and longer duration of necessary therapeutic support.


Early problems resulting from the immaturity of premature babies include:

  • instability of body temperature,
  • respiratory issues,
  • issues with the cardiovascular system,
  • issues with blood and metabolism,
  • gastrointestinal issues,
  • neurological issues,
  • issues with eyesight,
  • infections.

There is a whole range of difficulties with which these little beings have to cope starting from the first moments of life outside the womb.

One of the organisations established to help parents and their babies is the Premature Baby Foundation – Parents For Parents, and it is thanks to their initiative that on 17 November we express our solidarity with all premature babies and their parents. The primary purpose of this day is raising awareness about preterm births and the problems of premature babies and their families. It is also an occasion to thank health professionals for their hard work and devotion to treating children, which often involves saving their lives. On this day, a lot of the most important buildings throughout the world, such as hospitals, public offices, universities and shopping centres, illuminate their facades with purple lights.

Avionaut Expert
Published: 17.11.2022

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