World Prematurity Day

World Prematurity Day

What is World Prematurity Day?

World Prematurity Day is held on Wednesday 17 November and is one of the most important days in the year to raise awareness of preterm birth globally. The day was initiated by EFCNI and partnering European parent organisations in 2008. In 2010, the US organisation March of Dimes, African organisation LittleBigSouls, the Australian National Premmie Foundation, and EFCNI joined together to celebrate this special day. Since then countless individuals and organisations from over 100 countries have joined forces to make World Prematurity Day one that is celebrated across the globe with activities and special events to help raise awareness and support to improve outcomes for preterm babies and their families.

Why the day is important

  • An estimated 15 million babies are born preterm every year – more than 1 in 10 babies around the world.
  • Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death for children under 5, causing an estimated 1 million deaths in 2015 globally.
  • Rates of preterm birth are rising in the majority of countries with adequate data.
  • Across 184 countries, the rate of preterm birth ranges from 5% to 18% of babies born.
    (World Health Organization, key facts preterm birth (02/2018)

Get your purple on for Prems

The colour purple has become synonymous with World Prematurity Day. We ask people to join in to raise awareness of this global problem by wearing, eating, or sharing something purple!

On 17 November each year for World Prematurity Day:

  • Buildings across the world are lit up in colour to show their support for the day and help raise awareness for Prematurity.
  • Hospitals and parent groups often get together and celebrate with a morning tea (including cookies with purple icing).
  • People dress up in purple to show their support by wearing purple. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a ribbon in your hair, something purple on your baby’s pram or cot, or going fully purple, your participation matters!
  • Share on social. We also ask parents of preterm infants to share their stories on this Facebook page, and why supporting this day matters to them. Please use #EFCNI #WorldPrematurityDay.
  • Be part of the wave of light. Across Australia, many families light a candle at 7 pm to honour and remember all of the babies and their families who have been touched by prematurity.


  1. Post pictures on social media

    Many people have never seen a premature baby. You can make a difference by posting pictures of preemies on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. It may be unnerving to see such tiny human beings with tubes coming out of their mouths or in incubators. But it’s an important way to put the problem of premature babies front and center. Your pic could just start a movement.

  2. Give a care package

    Many organizations sponsor care packages for preemies. These gifts contain tiny diapers, bottles, blankets, and in many cases, doll-sized clothes. Some hospitals also provide these packages without charge to families with babies weighing less than three pounds. Or, just go out and buy some things and share them with a new mother.

  3. Pull out the purple

    Purple is the official color for National World Prematurity Day. Wear your purple ribbon pin or even get a purple ribbon tattoo. Light your home or office with a purple bulb. Whatever way you can show your support empowers the families who are struggling to keep a premature baby alive. It’s a way to do your part to educate and sensitize the community to this unfortunate problem that can affect any one of us.