Ipswich Hospital is shining a light on the impacts of preterm birth for World Prematurity Day.
The hospital’s exterior will turn purple on Thursday night to mark the day and highlight preterm births and the impact on a child’s health and development.
Any baby born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy is considered preterm or premature.
About 3000 babies are born at Ipswich Hospital each year. Of those, around one in four babies are cared for in the Special Care Nursery, including 210 babies who were born prematurely in the past year.
Ipswich Hospital Nursing and Midwifery Director Lynette Barrett said Ipswich Hospital aimed to achieve better, healthier outcomes for newborns and their families challenged by prematurity or sickness, in alignment with the Miracle Babies Foundation.
“Babies born prematurely have a higher chance of requiring medical treatment at birth, so it’s great to see the increase in awareness around the region,” Ms Barratt said.
West Moreton Health has joined the national Every Week Counts project, which aims to reduce the number of babies who are induced or born by caesarean section without evidence-based medical advice before 39 weeks’ gestation.
Ms Barrett said it was not uncommon for mums to begin labour naturally at 38 or 39 weeks in a normal pregnancy.
“In most cases premature birth is something that the birthing mother has no control over, but in cases where simple lifestyle changes can be implemented to reduce the chances, or a decision is made to induce early because of no medical reason, we aim to educate,” she said.
The West Moreton Health Every Week Counts project team would like to hear from families that have experienced preterm birth. Contact the Consumer Liaison team via email@example.com
The Ipswich City Council building will also be lit purple on Thursday night to mark the awareness day.