In February this year Coronation Street’s Kym Marsh gave birth to baby boy Archie at just 21 weeks and five days. Sadly he died after a few moments of life.
There are over 50 000 babies born prematurely each year in the UK, one of the highest rates in Europe. The numbers are still rising, yet there is currently no accurate screening test available to identify women at risk. Prematurity is the greatest cause of infant death in Britain.
Reporting for Tonight, Kym investigates concerns that the issue of prematurity is not at the top of the agenda for the decision makers.
Kym says: “I’m hoping in doing this programme that maybe I might go someway to finding some kind of answer really as to as to why these things might go wrong with pregnancies. But also I’m hoping to maybe raise some more awareness of the situation because I think not enough is known about it.
“We need to do something more towards the research into premature birth so that maybe we can prevent some from happening, and it would be good to meet other people who have been in the same situation as myself because it just makes you feel a bit more normal, I guess.”
She visits neo natal units to meet other parents of premature babies who are fighting for life – and finds that the majority have no answers as to why they gave birth early. Kym asks why when you consider that the cost of prematurity to the NHS is close to a billion pounds a year the government is not ring fencing money for research into the causes of and preventions for early labour. And she finds comfort in meeting other parents.
“It is [comforting] because when something like that happens to you, you feel on your own, especially in situations where you see other people going in and out with their babies. You sit there and feel like you’re the only person it’s ever happened to so when you meet other people that see that situation a lot or that have been there themselves, then you feel like you have some support there.”
Kym also looks into the shortages of beds and services in some areas and meets a family living with disability as a result of their son’s prematurity.
In the final stage of her journey Kym meets Health Minister Ann Keen to discuss the findings of her report.
Monday, 9 November 2009, 8:00PM – 8:30PM