If you happen to be seeing a lot of pictures of tiny babies on Instagram today, it could be because November 17 is World Prematurity Day — a day designated by several non-profits to raise awareness about babies who are born premature.
People are thankfully posting photos of their adorable tiny babies to Instagram to raise that awareness.
But prematurity awareness day isn't just about looking at photos of cute kids. Premature birth is actually the number one killer of children under the age of five worldwide, according to March Of Dimes. Babies who are born too early, any time before 37 weeks is considered premature, are more at risk for short and long-term health problems like: asthma and other lung diseases, gastrointestinal problems, infections, vision problem, hearing loss, and dental problems.
"Throughout the month we draw attention to the lifesaving research, treatments, and community support made possible when we work together to give every baby a fighting chance," March Of Dimes said in a statement.
As many people said in their Instagram photos, premature birth is hard on parents as well. Several people in the Instagram photos ahead talked about fearing for their children's lives every day they were in the hospital.
"Within a couple days, many new parents leave the hospital with their babies, but I was one of the small percentage who aren’t able to. It was a really weird feeling leaving the hospital without my babies and especially to have to drive one hour and 15 minutes each way home and then back to visit them," Liz Hodges, the mother of quints who were born premature and star of TLC’s forthcoming reality series Hodges Half Dozen, wrote in an essay for Refinery29.
Like Hodges, many parents of preemies have to travel back and forth to the hospital to visit their babies before they're allowed to go home and have to worry about scary medical complications. World Prematurity Day is about raising awareness of the struggle these families go through, making sure they're aware of the resources available to them, and supporting lifesaving research that will hopefully help fewer families have to endure premature births in the future.
Read on for photos from this #WorldPrematurityDay.
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