A LOVING mother has shared her unique experience of childbirth to celebrate World Prematurity Day and reassure other expectant parents.

Bethany Caunter was 34 weeks pregnant when she was rushed to the Royal Berkshire Hospital for the birth and to have her appendix removed.

It was several hours before she would hold baby Mila in her arms, but the outstanding care from The Buscot Ward ensured her child left the hospital in a healthy condition.

Bethany said: "Nothing can prepare you for seeing a tiny little premature baby, wired up to so many machines with tubes into her cord and into her nose and pads all over her tummy.

"Mila stayed in Buscot for nine days in total and I will be forever grateful for the treatment, love and genuine care she was so kindly given. I will never forget the people who helped us."

There are more than 60,000 premature births in the UK every year and every primary school classroom is thought to have at least two children who were born before their due date .

Bethany added: "Once we arrived at Buscot I noticed the different colours of the rooms on the special care ward.

"I was trying to convince myself that they were just names and not a reflection on how seriously ill the babies were, but of course they were.

"I knew Mila would be in the red room and sure enough we parked up outside this big red door and my heart sank."

World Prematurity Day takes place on November 17 and Bliss - a national charity for premature and sick babies - is aiming to raise awareness for the issue.

Caroline Lee-Davey, chief executive of Bliss, said: "We want to make people aware of what prematurity really means for babies and their families.

"We need more people to understand the impact that premature birth has so that those who experience it feel like they are not alone.

"Having a premature baby can feel isolating and Bliss is here to support families affected by the emotional rollercoaster of prematurity."

Visit: bliss.org.uk for more information.