‘Good Morning Britain’ meteorologist Laura Tobin has opened up about her experience of giving birth to her daughter 12 weeks prematurely and how, because of her weakened immune system, the first two years of her daughter’s life were lived in a COVID-style ‘lockdown’.
In July 2017, Laura was at work at Good Morning Britain when she started to feel abdominal pains. She didn’t think much of it until one of her colleagues, Dr Hilary Jones, remarked on how unwell she was looking and told her that she needed to go to hospital immediately as he thought she might be going into labour.
Her daughter, Charlotte, was born shortly after, a full 12 weeks before her due date. She only weighed 2lb 8oz and had a weak immune system, which meant that her first two years were far from ordinary.
Her mum said: “Charlotte loves being outdoors. When you have a premature baby, they’re vulnerable to all illnesses because they don’t have the immunity a normal-term baby would have”.
Essentially lockdown [advice], which we did anyway in the first two years of her life. Then six months later we were in lockdown [laughs]”.
By the time COVID-19 became a feature of our lives, they were already well-versed in lockdown life. Charlotte was in much better condition but her mum, Laura, was initially concerned about the impact that the virus might have on her child.
“Then a few weeks later, it came out that it doesn’t affect little ones nearly as badly. That was a huge weight off our minds”.
During lockdown, Laura remarked how it was such an opportunity to spend more time with her daughter saying: “I love playing all day. In lockdown, I was like, ‘Parents, you could have sent your children to me, I would play crafts all day.’ I love it”.
Because of her experience, Laura now works with a charity called Ickle Pickles which raises awareness around premature births.
“It was set up by a mum called Rachel whose son was born about 12 weeks early”.
“When these babies are born their eyes are closed and don’t open for a while. His eyes were closed for ages and they didn’t want to name him until they could see what he looked like. The nurse used to call him her “Ickle Pickle” and the name stuck with them”.
So far the charity has raised almost £1.5 million.
Survival rates for babies born before the abortion limit are increasing
Babies are continuing to be born before or shortly after the abortion limit in Great Britain of 24 weeks gestation and going on to live and even thrive at greater rates than before. Studies suggest that the majority of premature babies grow up to be healthy adults without any major health problems.
A study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in October 2019, followed 2.56 million babies born in Sweden between 1973 and 1997, around six percent of whom were born prematurely.
Researchers compared the health data of premature babies to those that had been born at full term. They found that 55% of premature babies had no serious chronic, physical, or mental health issues by early adulthood. This is compared to 63% for babies born at full term.
Additionally, with each passing decade, the odds of survival for a premature baby to adulthood have improved from about 91% of babies born in the 1970s to about 96% of those born in the 1990s.
A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: “These inspirational and heartwarming stories seem to be happening more and more often as our abilities to care for premature babies continues to advance. However, stories of premature births also continue to highlight the cruelty and inconsistency of abortion law. Baby Charlotte, born 12 weeks before her due date, could have been aborted if she was known to have had a disability before birth”.
Image credit: Instagram @lauratobinweather