Labour & Birth
Everyone hopes their pregnancy will be uncomplicated and free from emergency. Few people consider the possibility that their baby could be born many weeks before the due date and need to be given special care for the first few days, weeks or months after birth. However, the reality is that around 82,000 babies are born sick or premature each year in the UK.
Help and tips
• You can call the Bliss Family Support Helpline on 0500 618 140 and talk to a member of their team. Helpline staff will listen to you and try to answer any questions you may have. Bliss also runs Parents 4 Parents - a network of parent volunteers whose babies have been in neonatal units and are able to offer telephone support to other parents in a similar situation.
• Message boards are a great way of getting in touch with other parents who have been through a similar situation to you. They can give helpful advice and reassurance at what can be a stressful and difficult time. Bliss offers an interactive messageboard at www.bliss.org.uk
• Discussing your feelings with other parents can also help. Many neonatal units run a group where parents meet to share their experiences or simply have a coffee and a chat.
• Bliss also offers a counselling service to families of sick and premature babies. Alternatively, your GP may be able to refer you to a counsellor. You could also ask a member of staff at the neonatal unit if there is a counsellor or psychologist available to talk to parents and offer support.
• Various voluntary organisations such as wpf Counselling and Psychotherapy, MENCAP, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and Threshold Women's Counselling Service are worth getting in touch with.
Remember that in the middle of all the stress and heartache, you have given birth to a baby. This situation might not be what you had in mind for the first few days of your baby's life, but it is still alright to be congratulated and celebrate the fact that you have a new member in your family.
Having a premature baby in a neonatal unit is a very stressful experience. Looking after yourself will help you and help you look after your baby. Make sure you eat sensibly, rest and take time away from the unit.
Mum2mum Market Wimbledon - Saturday, 23 Jun
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