There is nothing more exciting than the impending arrival of a baby. Nine months of preparation, waiting impatiently, wondering if your newborn grow up to be a daddy’s girl or a mummy’s boy, playing the name game. Will it be an Oliver, a Jack, a Lauren or an Emily?
Even though the usual gestation time for humans is 40 weeks, it’s not an exact science, and sometimes, things don’t run according to plan. Some babies arrive late, with a bit of coaxing, and some babies are keen to make their entrance into the world at a more hurried pace.
Babies who are born early are known as premature babies. This term is used to define any baby born alive before the completion of 37 weeks of pregnancy.
According to the World Health Organisation, around 15 million babies are born prematurely each year, with approximately one million of these children die due to complications, and many that do survive are faced with a range of disabilities, ranging from intellectual, to visual and hearing deficits.
Preterm births are the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Preterm birth can run in families, and studies of more than 600 infant genomes suggest that a genetic anomaly within both the mother and the foetus may contribute to early births.
For those who may have a history of premature birth in their family, GTL offers a suite of DNA tests that provide an insight into your predisposition to a number of genetic conditions.
The Prenatal Peace DNA test is for those who want peace of mind during pregnancy. This screening test is 100% non-invasive and safe, testing for 18 genetic conditions, using a simple blood sample. It is important to note that Prenatal Peace is a screening test and not a diagnostic test. This test cannot replace diagnostic tests such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling although it can help pregnant women avoid the need to undergo these tests.
World Prematurity Day falls on 17 November this year. It is a day to raise awareness of the problems associated with preterm babies, to recognise the amazing parents and medical practitioners who care for them, and to highlight the measures that can help to lower and eventually prevent preterm birth. As part of the recognition, families are encouraged to ‘Light it up Purple’, and light a purple candle to show your support for this unique and important day. Why stop at just a candle, light your house, workplace or even yourself purple for the day!
You can also make financial donations through Life’s Little Treasures, or Miracle Babies, two organisations dedicated to supporting families of preterm babies.
GTL is a proud supporter of World Prematurity Day, and our staff will be decked out in purple as advocates of these amazing babies, children and families.