Why we exist

Every year approximately 10% of all babies are born premature (before 37 weeks gestation) in New Zealand. That’s one premature baby born every 90 minutes.

There are also full-term babies whose condition or illness requires admission to a NICU or SCBU after they are born. In all, over 5,000 babies have a difficult to start life in New Zealand each year.

With premature birth, while sometimes there is a history, or a medical condition which may lead to premature birth, more often than not, a mother goes into premature labour with no warning. With full term babies, parents may know their baby is going to be born with a complication requiring admission to a NICU. In other circumstances, the complication becomes apparent once the baby is born.

 All of these parents are thrust into a terrifying world where their much loved tiny baby, who they have just met, is surrounded by machines, beeps, alarms, wires, needles, doctors and nurses. The parents often feel helpless. While the birth of your baby is usually a joyous event, this is a traumatic and very stressful time and depending on the condition of the baby, the parents may be on this journey for a few days, a few weeks or many months.

Thanks to the highly-talented and dedicated neonatal doctors and nurses, the youngest babies to survive premature birth in New Zealand have been born at 23 weeks gestation.

 We are committed to “Making a difficult start to life that little bit easier”

Our objectives

The Neonatal Trust has three objectives:

1.    The primary focus for the Trust is supporting parents by helping them in whatever way we can to get through what is usually a very traumatic time. Neonatal Trust volunteers, the vast majority of whom have had babies in one of the country’s five NICUs, work to reduce the stress typically felt by families with premature or ill babies. They visit parents in the NICUs to assess individual needs, which can range from wanting access to information, to practical, financial or emotional help.

2.    The second aim of the Trust is to assist the NICUs in practical ways such as purchasing or contributing to the cost of equipment and funding for staff to attend neonatal educational seminars or other professional development.

3.    The third aim of the Trust is to aid neonatal-related medical research.

These objectives are delivered on in a range of different ways. To view a gallery of examples of our support, head to this Facebook gallery.