Help us spread awareness and love on November 17.

World Prematurity Day

Act now! Keep parents and babies born too soon together.

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

Celebrate, get involved, 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

Preemie Power Week 2020

A week of live sessions to mark World Prematurity Day. Watch the videos now.


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 #PreemiePowerCanada and #WorldPrematurityDay 


Join the Conversation

A powerful tool for sharing messages across the globe, social media interaction effectively raises awareness. Getting involved in the conversation and encourage others to join in, brings even more meaning and attention to important messages of advancement and support.

Other ideas include:

  • Follow CPBF on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Comment, repost, and tag others

  • Use our hashtags #PreemiePowerCanada and #WorldPrematurityDay 


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:

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

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

  • hosting a fundraiser like a bake sale or silent auction at your workplace, school, or place of worship


Donate to the Annual Campaign

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


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


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


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.


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.  For this reason, we are raising our voices together on World Prematurity Day, under the global banner to “Act now! Keep parents and babies born too soon together”. 


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. 


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.


WPD Theme 2021: Act Now! Keep parents and babies born too soon together.

In the wake of the global #COVID19 pandemic, neonatal units worldwide were forced to adopt safety measures against the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, these measures often ended up severely limiting parents’ access to their babies in the NICU. In some cases, parents were even prohibited from being with their babies at all!

Separation between parents and babies can cause severe and long-term health and developmental issues in newborns and also affects parents’ mental health in lasting ways.


This is why we advocate on this year’s #WorldPrematurityDay2021 that parents must have unrestricted access to their babies, no matter where or when! Join us in calling for #ZeroSeparation

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


Throughout November and December, for every time the hashtag #PampersForPreemies is used, Pampers®will donate to the CPBF's mental health initiative, Parent Care.


Pampers knows that supporting parents and their mental health directly impacts their babies. These donations will provide support to over 100 families across Canada in 2022.


Additionally, Pampers® Canada will partner with Walmart Canada. For every Pampers® diaper pack sold at Walmart from November 17th to December 17th, Pampers® will donate an additional 40 cents to the CPBF to help fund therapy sessions for families of premature babies.


Please share this post and use the #PampersForPreemies.


For more information about the Parent Care program,