Help to make The Smallest Things matter on Prematurity Day

CATRIONA OGILVY is a Croydon mum whose two sons were both born prematurely. Today is World Prematurity Day, and here she explains why that matters, and how you can help

smallest things WPDOn World Prematurity Day, parents, professionals and organisations are joining together across the globe to raise awareness and to campaign for better care for the 15 million babies who every year are born too soon.

Here in Britain, 60,000 babies are born prematurely each year, with nearly all requiring neonatal care and roughly 20,000 spending prolonged periods of time in hospital.

I know all about prolonged stays in neonatal care; my eldest son, now three, was born 10 weeks early and spent seven weeks in neonatal intensive care. My second son, it seems, did not want to miss out and arrived suddenly at home at 34 weeks – he spent two weeks being cared for by the amazing staff at the Croydon University Hospital neonatal unit.

Medically, a baby is described as being premature if they are born prior to 37 weeks gestation.

Having a baby changes your life. Having a premature baby turns your world upside down.

Both of Catriona Ogilvy's sons were born prematurely

Both of Catriona Ogilvy’s sons were born prematurely

No one can prepare you for becoming a parent, but when your baby is born too soon the preparation and anticipation is dramatically interrupted. You are thrown into a medical world of breathing machines and beeping monitors, a world where you can only reach your tiny new born through portholes in a Perspex box.

I have written about my experiences and my emotions as a mother of a premature baby, and am using them as part of a new campaign – The Smallest Things – to raise awareness of the emotional and financial difficulties faced by the parents of these special children. You can read our story here.

The Smallest Things campaign was launched less than two months ago, but has already received a fantastic response from parents and professionals alike.

Over the coming months, the Smallest Things will be meeting with local GP practices and health visiting teams, raising awareness and educating professionals on how to best support parents who have spent time in neonatal intensive care. If you’d like to follow the latest updates and news from our campaign please join us and hundreds of others on our Facebook page. Or to find out more about the aims of our campaign visit us at

“Sometimes,” said Pooh, “the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts.”

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