Pre-term birth

Newborn baby held by medical staff

Having a baby early can be a huge shock and may leave you with a huge range of feelings, questions, and worries.

Whatever the cause, it can be a time of great anxiety and emotion for you,
your partner and family.

Technically a premature birth is classed as any birth before 37 weeks before your due date and it happens in 8 babies out of a 100.

There are different degrees of prematurity with some requiring immediate intensive specialist care. Below is how the different stages of prematurity are categorised.

  • extremely preterm (less than 28 weeks)

  • very preterm (28 to 32 weeks)

  • moderate to late preterm (32 to 37 weeks)

Your Neonatal Care team, midwife, GP and health visitor are all there to support you through this before, during and afterwards. Never be afraid to ask questions or ask for help we all cope in different ways.

Below are some organisations that provide information, help and support for you and your family. Other parents share their stories and experiences of coping with a premature birth be it a planned one or an unexpected emergency.

Helpful organisations and support

BLISS is a website and organisation that provides support and help for parents who have a baby who is either sick or premature and covers all aspects of this from being in hospital, going home, growing up, having another baby and coping with loss for you and your family.

Small wonders is a website for parents who have a baby who is premature or sick, it has 12 bite sized films that follow different families’ journeys in neonatal units

SPOONS provides support for dads who may have a baby needing neonatal intensive care.

Tommy’s top tips for NICU dads: A dad shares his top tips for dads who have a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) based on his own experience. You can read more about James’s journey after his daughter spent 95 days in NICU here

Supporting your children if you have a baby born prematurely or in the NICU

Read about the NICU experience for siblings – Amy and Alina’s story

Helen’s story of coping when she had four other children at home

Nisha’s story – How do you spend quality time with your children when one is in hospital and the other is a home?


Resources to support your mental health and emotional wellbeing

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