World Prematurity Day, a day dedicated to ‘featherweight’ premature babies

‘Feathereight babies’: this is the name premature babies are given, because of the few hundred grams of weight they reach at birth. Just few years ago the process of growth of these babies was in danger, but today thanks to the scientific research, babies’ growth proceeds “without consequences”, said the Health Minister Roberto Speranza. The Minister of Health has reminded how “everyday in the world one out of ten baby is born before term. Our National Health System offers care and attention to all the premature babies” by continuing to invest in research.

The numbers published by the Italian Society of Neonatology tell a very clear situation: every year in the whole world 15 millions of premature babies are given to birth, which means before the 37th week of pregnancy; in Italy premature babies are more than 30.000, which is to say the 6,9% of births. It is a rate that has increased up to 11,2% in labors of women affected by Sars-Cov-2.

“The survival rate of premature babies is continuously improving thanks to the medical and scientific progress – said the SIN.
However, wide inhomogeneities still exist as concerns premature babies care. Organization of care, formation of health professionals and facilities vary widely not only in Europe, but also within the hospitals of the same region”.

We are talking about babies who “often need special and sometimes intensive care for a certain period of time from their birh, from few days to a few months in more severe cases”, explained the Undersecretary of Birth Andrea Costa.
In addition to the necessary medical and nursing assistance, which has made enormous progress in the last 30 years, nutrition is a particularly crucial aspect for reducing complications related to prematurity and in general for improving the neuro-cognitive development of these children.

In fact, skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding cover an essential moment in the development of the newborn: this is an important goal that is pursued by the “Zero separation” campaign, promoted by EFCNI European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants and supported by SIN and by many other scientific societies and associations all over the world.
The President of the Italian Society of Neonatology Luigi Orfeo also stressed that neonatologists do their best “to improve the network of Italian birth centers”.

The commitment of the health professionals is to “guarantee the access of parents, without limit of time, to Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU), where preterm babies are transferred and where they can stay for months; and to continue to promote the importance of breastfeeding and the donation of breast milk, through the Donated Human Milk Banks (BLUD) and for the recognition of Neonatal Follow-up Services “.
These are initiatives that will certainly be adopted for the preterm baby Costanza, weighing just 680 grams at birth, who is the small testimonial chosen for this day.

The Undersecretary of Health, Pierpaolo Sileri, who posed for social media with a purple T-shirt and the name of the little girl, said that “it is only thanks to the continuous progress in medicine and the commitment and professionalism of those who work in the National Health Service that it is possible to give a better future to most of these little patients. Today we are all Costanza. Today we are all born premature “.