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Small Actions Make a Big Impact: Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) celebrate World Prematurity Day 2023

Small Actions Make a Big Impact: Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) celebrate World Prematurity Day 2023

Nov. 17, 2023

All CHI locations



Friday 17th November, marks global World Prematurity Day. This day raises awareness for the challenges of preterm birth and celebrates the lives of preterm infants and their families worldwide.

On average, 460 premature and sick neonates are admitted under the care of Neonatology to CHI each year. The Neonatology service at Children’s Health Ireland looks after newborns with surgical or complex medical needs. CHI is the national quaternary (highest-level) neonatal centre for Ireland. Young babies are transferred to CHI from neonatal units throughout the country and on admission through the Emergency Department. The service includes special care, high-dependency care and intensive care. Our highly qualified staff provides a family-centred, holistic approach to care.

This year on World Prematurity Day, CHI’s Neonatal team are raising awareness about the benefits of immediate skin-to-skin contact and Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) for preterm infants.

Anna O’Loughlin is Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist with CHI at Temple Street, and she sees every day the positive impacts of skin-to-skin care for babies and their parents:

““We encourage our mums, dads and guardians to do as much skin-to-skin contact with their babies as they can. It’s a great way to lower stress levels for everyone and strengthens family bonding. It is one really beneficial way to put the family in the centre of all of our neonatal and maternal care, which is so important to us. “Immediate skin-to-skin contact after birth improves thermal regulation, prevents infection, enhances breastmilk supply, has positive physiological, behavioural, psychosocial, and neurodevelopmental effects, and reduces the risk of neonatal mortality by 40%"

Destiny and her Mum, Shaira, were transferred to the Neonatal High Dependency Unit in Temple Street from the Coombe NICU. Destiny is now 6 months old and doing really well. Shaira explains how skin-to-skin care helped them during their journey:

““Destiny was born at 25 weeks gestation due to preeclampsia. I felt so devastated that my body couldn't keep her to full term and I just let her down. She was so small at only 475 grams and was so fragile that it took me 21 days to finally hold her (skin-to-skin). It was the best thing ever happened to me after she was born. It's like we're making up the lost time we could have had when she's still in my womb. We spent 2 hours of just sitting together, praying for her, singing her my made up song, adoring her, loving her, and appreciating her toughness and resiliency. I would be lying if I told you I didn't cry. I couldn't help but cry the whole time that this tiny baby, just the size of my palm was on my chest calmly breathing and sleeping soundly. I wouldn't trade her for the world. This year's World Prematurity Day, I honour all the premature babies fighting every day to defy all the challenges thrown at them, babies who fought so hard but gained their wings, and to parents who strongly believed in their babies and being their number one advocators.”

For further information and resources about Neonatology, please visit:


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