60,000 babies are born prematurely in the UK each year and complications of preterm birth are the biggest cause of death in children under 5. Wellbeing of Women funds vital research into the causes and prevention of preterm birth and the best way to care for babies born too soon.
It ran from 12:00 PM, 30 November 2021 to 12:00 PM, 7 December 2021
Registered Charity in England and Wales (239281)
A preterm birth is one that happens before 37 weeks of pregnancy. 1 in 13 babies born in the UK will be born premature, that’s 60,000 every year. This is higher than many European countries and both Cuba and Iran. Complications of preterm birth are still the biggest cause of death in children under 5, causing 1 million infant deaths globally. 1 in 10 of all premature babies will have a permanent disability such as lung disease, cerebral palsy, blindness or deafness, costing the UK close to £1bn.
Research is key to understanding preterm birth and could save the government £260m a year. Wellbeing of Women is currently funding four projects studying preterm birth. These include the development of an injectable gel that will heal adhesions in the womb lining that can cause preterm birth, helping to prevent many early births; and research into the prevention of brain damage in premature babies caused by bacteria.
Isabella Rose was born at 28 weeks. She weighed just 2lb 6oz and fitted in the palm of my hand. I remember sitting with my husband as the medical team explained that our baby could have serious complications, breathing difficulties or even brain damage. It was the most scared I’ve ever been.
Premature babies are at an increased risk of brain damage, which can result in cerebral palsy, and lifelong health issues. Currently, treatments are limited and antibiotics are ineffective. It is crucial that new therapeutics are developed to prevent infection and protect the development of babies.
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