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Austprem Inc. is a registered non-profit organisation that began in 2000 when a group of parents had the vision of forming a support group specifically for Australian parents of premature infants and children. Parents with premature babies may feel emotionally isolated from those physically close to them, but may be geographically removed from those who share their experiences, so the vision was to begin an online support group which is accessible 24/7 from anywhere in the world. And it worked! Through the Austprem Forum, families who have experienced the complex challenges of parenting a premature infant reach out to other families facing this journey, and offer friendship, information and support. Today there are over 700 members of Austprem Inc., and the website gets around 1000 hits per month. This success story has been achieved through the vision and hard work of dedicated parents who aspire to help other parents through the prem experience.

As well as the main Austprem Forum, Austprem Inc. also has a “Pregnancy Support Group” Forum, for those who are at risk of delivering prematurely and a “Prematurity in the Press” Forum which shares information on research, studies and articles that may be of interest to those involved with premature babies and children.

Membership of Austprem Inc. and the Austprem forums is open to anyone who has or is involved in the care of prematurely born babies or children, including friends and family, as well as to health professionals.
Austprem Inc. publishes a quarterly newsletter, "Austprem Ink". Austprem Ink is available on the Austprem Inc. website and is accessible to anyone. Issues are often downloaded over 1000 times immediately after release and continue to be of interest even years later; last financial year issues were downloaded over 12,000 times.

Prematurity facts and figures

Each year in Australia around 8% of babies are born prematurely, that is about 57 babies being born early each day.1 A pregnancy generally lasts between 37 and 42 weeks; a preterm or premature baby is born before 37 weeks gestation. A recent population based study2 looking at 10 years of preterm births found that the rate of spontaneous preterm birth for low-risk mothers having singleton births had actually increased between 1993 – 2004. Prematurity is an ongoing problem, and as the study states:

 “What is most apparent is the fact that very little can be done to prevent the rising rates of preterm birth, while the causative factors remain uncertain” 2

Prematurity not only affects the families directly involved but the costs related to intensive care for the babies are high, with sums for hospital stays for some of these babies easily reaching tens of thousands of dollars.3 Decreasing the number of babies born early will have an impact on health expenditure by the hospitals, as well as other services such as early intervention, and will also save many families from having to experience the trauma of a premature birth.

1 Laws PJ, Grayson N & Sullivan EA 2006. Australia’s mothers and babies 2004. Perinatal
statistics series no. 18. AIHW cat. no. PER 34. Sydney: AIHW National Perinatal Statistics
2 Tracy S, Tracy M, Dean J, Laws P, Sullivan E. Spontaneous preterm birth of liveborn infants in women at low risk in Australia over 10 years: a population-based study. BJOG 2007;114:731–735
3 Doyle LW. Evaluation of neonatal intensive care for extremely low birth weight infants in Victoria over two decades: II. efficiency. Pediatrics. March 2004 v113 i3 p510(5).

National Premature Birth Awareness Week

The inaugural National Premature Birth Awareness Week was held from 24 – 30 November 2007. Cooler bags were distributed to all Level III nurseries in Australia The bags were packed with samples, vouchers and useful information for parents of premature babies.

2008 marks the second year of National Premature Birth Awareness Week and we hope that it will be as successful as the first.

As a part of increasing knowledge about premature birth, Austprem Inc. will be offering information to ALL pregnant women in the hope of decreasing the rising numbers of premature births in Australia with Austprem Inc.’s new brochure “Pregnant? It’s probably nothing but it might be something. The brochure will be launched during National Premature Birth Awareness Week. and contains a summary of the indications that may lead to premature birth and encourages women to check with their doctor, hospital or health care provider if they are at all concerned.

Austprem BORN EARLY Appeal

The Austprem BORN EARLY Appeal hopes to raise sufficient money over time to fund research into the causative factors of premature birth, in the hope of reducing the number of babies born early. It is difficult to combat the increasing number of early arrivals when so little is known as to the causes.

As part of the Austprem BORN EARLY Appeal, merchandise, including ribbons and bears, will be on sale to help raise funds. Donations are of course welcome and those over $2 are tax deductible.

Those wising to make a donation or purchase merchandise can visit and place your order online.

For further information, or to arrange an interview please contact Austprem BORN EARLY representative Narelle on 0407 355 388 or by email


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