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Premature Awareness Month

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‘’At first I cried, I was terrified. Then I saw you. You were still my child, you just came sooner than we had planned. Prematurity they said. NICU they said. Everything was so different, but again what hadn’t changed is that you were still my child, I was still your mom. If you could do this, so could I. I don’t cry much anymore. I am a strong preemie mom.’’ ~ Preemie Support and Awareness.

Observed every November, Premature Awareness Month is grounded on the premise of informing others on the unique needs of this population and their families as well as motivating change agents and stakeholders to create policies and resources that address and circumvent the issues that lead to prematurity. Island Hope International stands in support of our preemie families and seeks to continue to educate while raising awareness, and partner with other organizations to further this cause.

Each year approximately 123 million women become pregnant. 15 million of these babies are born early, ranking the U.S #6 in premature births worldwide. As one of the leading causes of infant mortality, premature birth claims the lives of an estimated 1 million babies. A premature birth is one that occurs before the start of the 37th week of pregnancy. Depending on how early a baby is born, he or she may be: late preterm (34-36 weeks), moderately preterm (32-34 weeks), very preterm (less than 32 weeks) or extremely preterm (before 25 weeks). The likelihood of survival of a preemie increases as the pregnancy progresses. Even an extra week in the womb can make a huge difference. In other words, babies born closer to 37 weeks will be better off than those born before 28 weeks.

Although we do not understand why all preemies are delivered early, there are a number of factors that are known to lead mothers into an earlier labor than anticipated. These include but are not limited to: preeclampsia, depression, stress, drug abuse, carrying more than one baby, first time young mothers, older women, mothers who had previous premature births, poverty, lack of access to health care and discrimination

According to the World Health Organization, one of the most common causes of premature and still births include chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy which can lead to type II diabetes later on in life. Pregnant women who have elevated blood sugar levels or those diagnosed with GDM are at an increased risk for pregnancy related complications which may result in premature birth as well as their newborns facing health issues.

Having your newborn baby in the NICU has the propensity to cause anxiety as there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding your baby’s future. These babies face a great deal of health issues throughout their lifetime ranging from mild developmental delays to major congenital diseases. These include but are not limited to: serious heart, brain or respiratory problems, SIDS, ADHD and infections. No mother, father or baby should face this, much less face it alone. Unfortunately, it is a sad reality for millions in our world today during this pandemic.

If you are a preemie parent, here are some things that may help you;

● Be honest with your feelings. Emotional fluctuations are normal.

● Reach out to other NICU families

● Give yourself some time

● Talk to your baby

● Take photos

● Initiate skin to skin contact as soon as possible

For those supporting a preemie baby and their family, here are some ways you may help;

● Celebrate as you normally would when a baby is born.

● Offer practical help. Bring food, food and more food.

● Support parents in whatever way they need. Help out at home.

● Stay in touch with parents.

● Say positive things about the baby. Offer emotional support

● Offer but don’t expect to visit or hold the baby.

● Listen to parents. Respect privacy.

To Get Involved

● Wear Purple, the official colour of prematurity.

● Take #IslandHope🌴Purple of you and your preemie.

● Wear Purple Awareness Ribbons on November 17

● Share your proudest moments and milestone from the NICU to home

● Visit or for more information. Visit for comfort and support. Virtual Support Groups for NICU Families

● Make your dollars go further with AmazonSmile! When you shop on Amazon will donate 0.5% of your total purchases to us. SAME PRODUCTS, SAME PRICES, SAME SERVICES including AMAZON PRIME. When you shop, Amazon gives. All you have to do is;

1. Go to

2. Select Island Hope International as your charity

3. SHOP!

With your donations received we can continue to promote health and wellness in a holistic manner.

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