Preterm labor or premature labor is a term that refers to labor that is experienced before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
Over 89% of pregnancies make it to full-term while the remaining 11% are premature. When labor occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy but before a due date, it’s considered preterm.
There are many risks for both mother and child if a baby is born too early in a pregnancy.
What Causes Women to Go Into Labor Prematurely
There are many things that cause preterm labor. Identifying risks and eliminating them from your life helps you increase your chances of carrying your child full-term. Working with your primary care physician closely is advisable as he or she possesses in-depth knowledge about your medical history, the medications that you take, and the lifestyle that you live.
Here are the factors that are known to cause premature labor:
- Smoking, drinking and doing drugs. These activities pose health risks for women who aren’t pregnant. They’re doubly troubling for women who are carrying a child. Do everything you can to quit indulging in recreational substances. They produce toxins in the body that spread to the placenta and prevent your baby from getting the vital oxygen he or she needs to survive.
- Back-to-back pregnancies. When your body doesn’t have time to properly heal after having one baby, it can cause you to go into labor prematurely with the second child. Waiting for less than a year between pregnancies increases the chance of you delivering before 37 weeks are up. If possible, wait more than 18 months to conceive again because the likelihood of you going into labor early decreases significantly.
- UTI and vaginal infections. Nearly half of preterm births are caused by bacterial vaginosis (BV), trichomoniasis, uterine infections, and problems with the amniotic fluid. Getting tested for these issues is vital as it can help you prevent problems with your pregnancy.
- Complications during pregnancy. Preeclampsia and gestational diabetes can be to blame for premature labor. So, can problems with the placenta. Attending all follow-up appointments with your physician is advisable as it allows close monitoring to occur and preventative measures to be acknowledged and taken.
This is just some of the causes of preterm labor. Knowing what risks exist and how to prevent them helps increase your chances of carrying to term. That way, you and your child don’t experience further challenges caused by low birth weight.
Things You Can Do to Prevent Yourself from Going Into Labor Prematurely
There are many things you can do to prevent yourself from going into labor before your due date. The first is to make sure that you space out your pregnancies. As mentioned above, 18 months between one pregnancy and another is ideal.
Do things to alleviate stress naturally. Start doing yoga and meditating. Keep a journal as a way to get the thoughts out of your head so you can relax more.
If you’re engaging in risky behavior, stop. Quit drinking, smoking, and using drugs. Make sure that you’re doing things that help you have a healthy pregnancy such as taking your prenatal vitamins, watching your weight, and eating a healthy diet packed with the nutrients you and your body need.
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