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World Prematurity Day extra special for Mater midwife

Mater Mothers’ Private Townsville’s most senior midwife has an extra reason to celebrate this World Prematurity Day (Friday 17 November 2023).

Mater Business Nurse Manager Rebekah Barrie’s son Hugh (5 months old) was born at 36 weeks gestation in June this year.

“I was actually here on my second last day of work before maternity leave when I was induced to have Hugh at 36 weeks, so being on the other side of things and being the mother of a premature baby really opens your eyes to giving birth prematurely,” Ms Barrie said.

Hugh is just five months old but is already 8.5kg now, so we’ve come out the other side and he’s a happy and healthy little boy.
Ms Barrie

Baby Hugh is one of the many premature babies born at Mater Mothers’ Private Townsville in 2023.

“We have two premature babies with us in Mater Mothers’ at the moment, so the babies and their parents will stay with us for a little bit of time and become part of the family,” Ms Barrie said.

“My own patient experience was incredible – you do become part of the family because parents of premature babies do have an extended stay so it’s even more special as you form really close bonds with everyone from your doctors and midwives to kitchen staff and cleaners.”

Mater Private Hospital Townsville General Manager Stephanie Barwick said World Prematurity Day was an important opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges and impacts of preterm birth.

“Preterm birth affects one in 10 babies worldwide, with roughly 23,000 preterm babies born annually in Australia,” Ms Barwick said.

“World Prematurity Day is a fantastic opportunity to both recognise these babies and their parents, and to ensure expecting families know support is available for them here in Townsville.

“Today is a chance for us to recognise the extra specialised care our experienced nurses, midwives, doctors and support services provide for these families while they are with us at Mater.”

Ms Barrie said, while she was enjoying motherhood, she was itching to get back to work.

“I’m so excited to come back to work at the start of January – I will be celebrating one decade at Mater next year, so this really is home,” Ms Barrie said.

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