Every baby born premature is twice as likely to develop a life-changing brain condition
Half a million children in the UK have a brain condition that can make learning, playing and simply experiencing the world a huge challenge. We know research can change lives. That's why we're dedicated to supporting high quality research, utilising the findings to provide evidence based information and support to children and families who face challenges every day.
Many conditions have the origin in pregnancy and whilst most women can have a healthy pregnancy, many encounter complications that can result in a baby being born far too soon.
Premature Birth: The facts and figures
Premature birth is one of the leading causes of neonatal brain injury and later childhood disability. In the UK, over 60,000 babies are born early each year.
A recent European study* examined the neurodevelopmental outcomes for children at 2 years of age. These children were born at varying weeks of gestation and findings showed the overall rate of cerebral palsy to be higher amongst children born between 24-26 weeks. As many as 9.6% of these children developed cerebral palsy compared with an average of only 1% born between 32-34 weeks.
The risk of developing a serious brain condition is higher the earlier a baby is born but even being born a month early can still impact on a child’s life prospects.
In fact, being born at 32-36 weeks means a child has twice the likelihood of cognitive delay and three times the likelihood of language delay.**
Unfortunately, many of these children will face difficult challenges throughout school - each year, 5,000 will require special classroom support and 25,000 will under-perform in school assessments. That’s enough to fill 116 primary schools.***
Preventing Premature Birth Through Research
What We've Achieved So Far
- Developed an internationally unique resource for research into the causes of premature birth by establishing the ‘Thousand Women Study’ - a biobank of more than 2,000 blood samples from women during the course of their pregnancy
- Helped to reduce the number of premature births, with 500 fewer babies being born too soon each year
- Published research papers in peer-reviewed international journals
- Participated in drawing up current government strategies to half premature birth rates by 2030 – notably Reducing Preterm Birth Guidelines for Commissioners and Providers
Your support makes our work possible
Without it, we simply wouldn’t be able to fund the life-changing research this is.
Research that will reduce the number of premature births, help eliminate the chances of neonatal brain injury and reduce the number of babies being born with a condition that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
Donate online or call 01267 240840 and together we can give many more newborn babies across the UK a fighting chance.