Is It Possible to Prevent Preterm Labor?
Preterm labor is a term used to define uterine contractions of sufficient frequency and intensity to effect progressive effacement and dilation of the cervix prior to term gestation. In other words, preterm labor is any birth that occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy. Every pregnant woman needs to know about preterm labor and preterm birth. Preterm birth affects 480,000 babies every year, or one in eight live births, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Knowing about preterm labor and birth can be beneficial for you and your baby. A new study has recently shown that preventing preterm labor may be possible.
Preterm Labor occurs for many reasons. There are no real or easy answers to this difficult question. Stress may be a factor in some women, while in others it may be due to family medical history. Infections, smoking, and drug use may also be the cause of preterm labor in women. Doctors and researchers worldwide are studying how various factors may contribute to the problems of premature labor and birth. The women who are at greatest risk for preterm labor are women who have had a previous preterm birth, women who are pregnant with twins, triplets or more, and women with uterine or cervical abnormalities.
Women who lead a certain lifestyle may also be at risk for preterm labor such as women who smoke, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, use illegal drugs, women who have experienced domestic violence including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, women who are under a lot of stress, lack of emotional or social support, and women who work long hours with long periods of standing.
Certain medical conditions during pregnancy may also increase the risk of preterm labor in women. For example women with urinary tract infections, or any other vaginal infections, diabetes, high blood pressure, being underweight before pregnancy and obesity may lead to preterm birth and labor.
Preventing preterm labor and birth can be done according to new studies. By learning about the symptoms of preterm labor, you may be able to stop it early. Here are five ways to help get your baby to term.
- Early Prenatal Care: Getting early prenatal care is one of the easiest ways to reduce your risk of preterm labor. Seeing a doctor as soon as you know you are pregnant can be beneficial for you and your child. Your doctor can advise you on how to eat right and stay healthy throughout your pregnancy. Your doctor can screen you for infections that can harm your pregnancy and even provide prenatal vitamins for you.
- Know the Risks: By knowing the risks of what may cause preterm labor, you may be able to spot them and treat them with your doctor. Medical risks can increase the chances of you giving preterm birth, so work with your doctor if you feel you may be subject to them. Your doctor can help minimize the risks by guiding you through how to improve your lifestyle. Your doctor may also be able to help by getting you tested early for any infections that may cause harm to your pregnancy.
- Visit the Dentist: Going to the Dentist is critical during your pregnancy. Regular cleanings may help reduce the risk of preterm delivery. Doctors believe that the same chain of events that happen during a urine infection can occur if you have a dental condition.
- Watch Your Weight: Being underweight of overweight during your pregnancy is harmful for the baby, so make sure to keep an eye on your weight. The average women should put on between twenty-five to thirty-five pounds while she is pregnant. Being underweight or overweight can cause preterm birth. Eating right and exercising are vital for a healthy pregnancy. A nutritious diet and lots of vitamins are essential to maintaining your health during your pregnancy.
- Reoccurrence: If you have given preterm labor in the past, then you are at a higher risk to do it again. Consult your doctor to receive progesterone-like hormones which have reduced the risk of preterm baby birth.
Premature birth isn’t something to be taken lightly. Premature birth is the number one cause of neonatal death in the first month of life, and can trigger various health issues in your baby. These health issues include developmental delays, chronic lung disease, and cerebral palsy. The effects of premature birth can be devastating throughout the child’s life. The earlier in pregnancy that a baby is born, the more health issues it is likely to have. By recognizing the signs, you can help prevent preterm labor for you and your child. Although little can be done to prevent preterm labor once it has started, you may be able to delay delivery for a few weeks if you are well informed and smart about it.