This little preemie's smile is making everyone's day

The photo inspired others to share their stories and photos of their premature babies.
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The smile of a little Minnesota girl who was born too early is giving hope to a bunch of families with premature babies.

Lauren Vinje recently shared a photo of her daughter Freya on the Love What Matters Facebook page, where at just 5 days old Freya is smiling the biggest smile. (It's the photo above.)

At 3 pounds, 14 ounces, "she was just happy to be alive," Vinje wrote, noting she'd look at the photo to help her get through "the ups and downs of our NICU days. Life is so precious."

The Facebook post has been shared more than 300,000 times since being posted Sunday, and has inspired others to share their stories and photos of their premature babies in the comments.

Vinje also wrote about her pregnancy and Freya's birth on the Birth Without Fear pregnancy blog, where she explained that after showing signs of preeclampsia (a condition during pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure, the Mayo Clinic says), she gave birth to Freya when she was about 34 weeks pregnant.

Freya was born on Thanksgiving Day 2014, and remained in the NICU until Dec. 21, 2014, ABC News reports. Now Freya is "thriving" ahead of her second birthday.

More on preterm births

Preemies, or preterm birth, is when an infant is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

It is the leading cause of infant deaths, with most of these deaths happening to babies born very preterm – or before 32 weeks. It's also the leading cause of long-term neurological disabilities in children.

In 2014, one out of every 10 babies born in the U.S. was a preemie, the CDC says.

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