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1 in 10 babies worldwide is born too soon. In Canada, 30,000 babies are born prematurely every year.

World Prematurity Day: Raise awareness and make a difference!

World Prematurity Day is observed every year to raise awareness of the challenges and long-term impact of preterm birth globally.

World Prematurity Day raises awareness of the impact of preterm birth globally.

Everyone from preemie parents to government at all levels are warmly invited to take part in activities, hold events, to raise awareness. 

Stage Lighting at Concert

Many of Canada’s landmarks will be illuminated in purple on November 17th!

Snap some photos and share on social media using #WorldPrematurityDay and #PreemiePowerCanada

WPD Theme 2023: Small actions, BIG IMPACT: Immediate skin-to-skin care for every baby everywhere.

this years theme
wear purple

Wear Purple!

World Prematurity Day is represented by the colour purple, which stands for sensitivity and exceptionality, so wear it with pride!

Other ideas include:

  • asking your child’s school to have students wear purple on November 17, or holding a school fundraiser close to the date

  • asking your co-workers to wear purple and donate to CPBF

Follow our Social Media accounts

Follow CPBF on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! By doing so you help us to share messages of support and awareness even farther and wider!

Other ideas include:

  • Like, share, and tag us

  • Use our hashtags #WorldPrematurityDay2023 #PreemiePowerCanada  #KMC

follow us on social
Nominate a landmark

Nominate a Landmark for Illumination in Purple Light!

Tell us about a monument or landmark in your town or city that would be a great choice for illumination, and CPBF will contact them!

Hold a Fundraiser

No effort is too small - even simple actions make a difference! Hold a fundraiser of any size in honour of World Prematurity Day!


Some ideas include:

  • World Prematurity Day - School Campaign - Learn more here

  • asking your child’s school to have students wear purple on November 17 and donate $2

       Click images below to download and help us spread the word!

  • we have created a letter so you can share with your child’s daycare or school – Download here

  • if you would like to receive posters for your school/ day care, please email us at

hold a fundraiser

Donate to the Annual Campaign

We hold our yearly campaign in November. You can donate here.

Annual Campaign

Get creative and let us know how you plan to celebrate World Prematurity Day!

share plan to celebrate

Share an Event with Others

Do you have a World Prematurity Day event you’d like to tell us about?

Planning for World Prematurity Day happens all year round. If you have plans to share, or you’d like support to organize something in your community, please email us at

share event

Canada's Role in Raising Awareness

CPBF plays a major role in promoting World Prematurity Day across Canada. We join forces with organizations and individuals from more than 100 countries to raise awareness, organize special events, and take action to address preterm birth and improve outcomes for preterm babies and families. We also support the International Global Illumination Project, lighting landmarks and monuments in purple to honour preemies, their families, and their dedicated caregivers.

Canada's role

Why More Awareness is Needed

The global COVID-19 pandemic forced neonatal units worldwide, including Canada, to adopt strict safety measures that unfortunately often separated parents from their preterm babies in the neonatal unit. As a result, there have been detrimental consequences for both babies and their parents.


We are advocating for every parent’s right to have unrestricted access to their babies in hospital, no matter where and when.

Even without the additional risks of a global pandemic, preterm babies are among the most vulnerable patients worldwide and, as studies have shown time and again, they need their parents by their side. Healthcare systems need to balance the needs of babies born too soon, too small, or too sick and their families with the requirements to keep hospitals running and the staff safe during the pandemic and going forward. 

Is parental involvement in neonatal care a good idea? Absolutely yes! It is not only possible but even strongly recommended since it helps hospitalized babies to thrive and parents to feel confident and supported in their new role. Separation practices in neonatal care on the other hand have proven to compromise parenting and lead to signs of depression, distress, and feelings of helplessness. In contrast, parent-infant closeness reduces mortality and morbidity, infections, hospital readmissions and even supports the lactation process in breastfeeding women. Therefore, on #WorldPrematurityDay2023, we advocate for empowering parents as key caregivers of their babies at all times by engaging them in good communication, education, and decision-making.


We are raising our voices together, under the global banner to “A Parent’s embrace: a powerful therapy. Enable skin-to- skin contact from the moment of birth”.

more awareness needed
Development of WPD

Development of World Prematurity Day

The day was initiated in 2008 by EFCNI and partnering European parent organisations during their first ever meeting and celebrated in 2009 for the first time: 17 November was the day a founding member of EFCNI welcomed a daughter after having lost triplets due to preterm birth – the day signals hope and a new beginning. In 2010, the US organisation “March of Dimes”, the African organisation “LittleBigSouls”, the Australian “National Preemie Foundation”, and EFCNI joined forces across continents to make this special day truly global they also initiated the purple lighting as one symbol to honour preterm babies and their families.  

Defining Preterm Birth

The World Health Assembly (the decision-making body of WHO) provided the first definition of preterm birth in 1948. Today, this is the most extensively used and accepted definition of preterm birth.

The average pregnancy lasts for approximately 37 to 42 weeks. Every baby born before completion of 37 weeks of pregnancy (also called weeks of gestation) is considered as preterm.


The following subcategories are used for further distinction:

  • extremely preterm: <28 weeks of gestation

  • very preterm: 28 to <32 weeks of gestation

  • moderate to late preterm: 32 to <37 weeks of gestation

  • late preterm may still be differed with referring to 34-37 weeks of gestation [1]


Preterm babies are also differentiated in terms of unusually small body length and weight for the number of weeks of pregnancy (gestation period, also called gestational age). Babies born preterm have much higher rates of low birthweight. Low birthweight refers to babies who are born weighing less than 2,500 grams (about 5.51 pounds), very low birthweight to babies with a birth weight less than 1,500 grams (about 3.30 pounds). The concept of small for gestational age describes babies who are smaller than the usual average for the number of weeks of pregnancy.

Define Preterm
Purple Glow

The Canadian Premature Babies Foundation (CPBF) is honoured to partner with Pampers once again for World Prematurity Day.

Pampers is proud to work with closely with the CPBF in supporting initiatives that will help babies and their families when they need it most.

Throughout November and December, Pampers® Canada will partner with Walmart Canada*. For every Pampers® Swaddlers diaper pack and Pampers® Sensitive Wipes sold at Walmart from November 1st to December 31st, 2023, Pampers® will donate 8 cents to the CPBF to help fund support programs for families of premature babies.

For more information about our support programs, visit:

Pampers is a proud sponsor of the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation.

*excludes Quebec


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