The financial and psychological impact of having a premature or sick baby

Mum and dad looking down at baby while mum caresses baby's face

Read about Bliss' research into the financial and psychological impact on families of having a premature or sick baby.

(Last updated: 29/06/22)

The financial impact of having a baby born premature or sick

Premature and sick babies can face hospital stays of several weeks or months.

Our ‘Families Kept Apart’ report found that one in seven (15 out of 99) neonatal units told us they are unable to provide any, or only very limited, facilities or financial support for families.

Bliss has found that, on average, the parents we surveyed in England were forced to spend an extra £282 a week when their baby was in hospital. These extra costs included travel, parking, food and drink, childcare for siblings, and loss of earnings.

The psychological impact of having a baby born premature or sick

Having a baby on a neonatal unit can be incredibly stressful and emotional. Parents are much more likely to suffer from mental health problems and research has suggested that parents of premature babies are twice as likely to suffer from postnatal depression as parents of full term, healthy babies.

Our how you might be feeling page describes some of the emotions involved in having a baby on the neonatal unit.

For information and support, you can get in touch with Bliss at

It is vital parents receive support while their baby is in hospital, and at home. Bliss has been campaigning for better support services for families since the launch of our 'Bliss baby report' in 2015. Our Bliss Baby Charter sets out the expectation that all neonatal units taking part have dedicated psychosocial support available on the unit too. Over 85 per cent of neonatal units are currently taking part in the Bliss Baby Charter.