References

Avendano M, Berkman LF, Brugiavini A, Pasini G The long-run effect of maternity leave benefits on mental health: evidence from European countries. Soc Sci Med. 2015; 132:45-53 https://doi.org/https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.02.037

BBC News. Mums of premature babies call for more maternity leave. 2016. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37750548 (accessed 21 November 2016)

London: Bliss; 2014

What is the difference between justice and fairness? Which is more important?. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/hfycm8g (accessed 21 November 2016)

Gov.UK. Maternity pay and leave. 2016. http://www.gov.uk/maternity-pay-leave/leave (accessed 21 November 2016)

Premature babies and maternity leave: what's the legal position?. 2016. http://tinyurl.com/zrpa8md (accessed 21 November 2016)

Warnock M The Right to Life. Proc R Coll Physicians Edinb. 1996; 26:148-55

Preterm birth and maternity leave

02 December 2016
3 min read
Volume 24 · Issue 12

According to the UK charity Bliss (2014: 4): ‘There are 78 000 babies born too soon, too small or too sick in Britain each year.’ Apart from the parental fear and anxiety accompanying a premature infant's hospital stay of weeks or months, the financial strain, according to a Bliss survey, translates to ‘an average of £282 a week, or £2256 over the course of [the] baby's stay in hospital’.

A further dimension was highlighted with the launch of a petition by mother-of-two Catriona Ogilvy, founder of www.thesmallestthings.org, who is campaigning for mothers of premature babies to be given an extra week of maternity leave for every week spent in hospital with their child. On 17 November, World Prematurity Day, she and her supporters handed the petition—which had 115 230 signatures and remains open— to Parliament. ‘For me,’ she said, ‘as the mother of two small boys born too soon, World Prematurity Day was an oppor tunity to reflect on and highlight the realities of neonatal intensive care; a chance to shine a light on a hidden world and a journey that lasts long after bringing your baby home from hospital. Our message is that neonatal intensive care is not maternity leave.’ And it is a message that prompted Ogilvy's local MP, Labour's Steve Reed, to raise the issue in Parliament (BBC News, 2016), proposing a Maternity and Paternity Leave (Premature Birth) Bill.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Midwifery and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for midwives. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to our clinical or professional articles

  • Unlimited access to the latest news, blogs and video content

  • Monthly email newsletter