Extended leave for parents of premature babies

A bill calling for extended parental leave for mothers and fathers of premature babies has gained cross-party support and is scheduled to be debated in UK parliament on December 16. More than 110,000 people have already signed a petition on Change.org which was started in June 2015 by mum Catriona Ogilvy, who gave birth to her first son Samuel ten weeks early. Catriona highlighted that her maternity leave started immediately and months before she was able to bring her baby home, robbing her of precious time with her child. The cost of neonatal care can also be crippling for families. The charity Bliss has highlighted that families spend on average an extra £2,256 over the course of their hospital stay, but the emotional impact can be greater. A staggering 40 per cent of mothers experience post-natal depression following neonatal intensive care, compared to five to 10 per cent of mothers delivering without complication at full term. Extending statutory parental leave for these families would enable them to receive emotional and financial support at a time of great trauma and stress.

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