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Preterm Labor: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

Preterm Labor: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

What is preterm labor and what happens if you experience a preterm labor? Well, don’t worry we will break it down for you. And make sure you are prepared for anything that comes your way. 

What is preterm labor?

Premature labor, also known as preterm labor, is when a mother’s body begins the labor process too early. Labor is typically considered preterm if it occurs more than three weeks before your due date. Preterm labor can lead to fetal complications if not treated properly. 

Complications of Preterm Labor

One of the largest complications of going into preterm labor is delivering the baby too early. Babies continue to develop in the uterus throughout the entirety of a woman’s pregnancy. This means that it takes 40 weeks for a baby to fully develop and survive outside of the womb. Premature babies often need special care and can sometimes suffer with long-term mental and physical disabilities. Delivering a premature baby can lead to them living with birth defects, learning disabilities, or even physical disabilities.

Pregnant woman tummy

Causes/Risks of Preterm Labor

While there is no one specific reason, there are many theories about what can cause preterm labor in pregnant women.

  • smoking/alcohol/drug use – The use of elicit substances can cause miscarriage as well as low birth weight and birth defects. If the baby is experiencing any stressors from being in the uterus, the body will begin labor. 

  • small intervals between pregnancy – There is an increased risk of a woman experiencing preterm labor if they wait less than 18 months before becoming pregnant again. 

  • multiples birth – women who carry multiple babies at the same time are more likely to give birth to premature babies. The uterus is only designed to grow and feed one baby at a time. So in the case of multiple babies, there is an increased risk that your body will go into preterm labor.  

  • pregnancy complications – pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia can cause the body to go into preterm labor.

  • problems with the uterus or cervix – If a woman’s uterus is malformed, too large, or has other problems it can be difficult to carry the baby to term. If the cervix is too short or cannot stay closed this can cause preterm labor as well.

  • stress levels – Your stress levels directly impact your baby’s stress levels. Any traumatic incident can lead to the release of hormones that induce labor.

  • occupational factors – If a woman works at a very physical job where they have to stand on their feet all day or perform physically demanding duties; they have a higher chance of having a preterm labor. 

  • maternal age – Women under the age of 17 or over the age of 35 are at a higher risk of experiencing a preterm labor.

  • A previous preterm birth – If the mother has had a previous preterm birth she is more at risk for a preterm labor in her subsequent pregnancies.

Symptoms of Preterm Labor

So, what exactly should you be on the lookout for when it comes to premature labor?

  • Contractions that occur every ten minutes.

  • Bloody vaginal discharge.

  • Cramps, similar to a period.

  • Excess back pain.

  • Increased pelvic pressure

Unfortunately many of these symptoms are every-day problems that pregnant women face, so it can be difficult to tell the difference between everyday ailments and signs of a preterm labor. Just be as in tune with your body as you can be and pay attention to anything that may seem worse than normal.

Look for the signs of serious injury after fall

What Happens if You Go Into Premature Labor?

Once your doctor determines you have gone into preterm labor, there are a variety of actions they may take. You may be admitted to the hospital, put on bedrest, treat with medications, or even given corticosteroids. These actions are used to try and stop preterm labor so you do not have a premature birth. 

How to Prevent It

While there are ways that doctors can stop preterm labor, the best way to avoid it is by preventing it from happening in the first place. 

  • Space out your pregnancies – There is an increased risk of preterm labor if you are pregnant with a baby 18 months after having one. You can avoid this increased risk by spacing out your pregnancies.

  • See your doctor on a regular basis – By keeping up with your doctor’s appointments on a regular basis, they will be able to catch any signs of preterm labor. In addition, they can give you instructions on what you can do to prevent it.

High angle view of Caucasian male doctor doing ultrasound scan for pregnant woman in hospital

  • Control your alcohol and drug use – Unless your doctor explicitly states that you can continue to take a medication, cut out all drug usage. You will also need to cut out all alcohol use. These substances cause preterm labor and other birth complications that you can prevent by simply not taking them. 

  • Take prenatal vitamins – Part of maintaining a healthy pregnancy is making sure you have all the necessary nutrients. To ensure you are getting all the necessary nutrients prenatal vitamins are essential. These will keep you and your baby healthy. 

  • Have a well-balanced nutrition – In addition to your prenatal vitamins you will want to maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet. This can also help you have a healthy pregnancy. 

Postpartum Care

Taking care of yourself during pregnancy is important, and so is taking care of yourself after pregnancy. Not only will you have to deal with being a mother now, but you also have to maintain your own autonomy. That is where Bellefit is here to help. At Bellefit we believe that every woman deserves to feel confident and strong. That is why we design postpartum girdles that help you get back to feeling and looking your best. Not only are they functional – they are comfortable too. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself a Bellefit postpartum girdle today!

 postpartum girdles

We hope this has been a helpful guide to premature labor and walked away just a little more educated. 

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Cynthia Suarez

  • Aug 07, 2020
  • Category: News