The World Health Organization estimates the prevalence of preterm birth to be 5–18% across 184 countries worldwide. Statistics from countries with reliable data show that preterm birth is rising. About a third of neonatal deaths are directly attributed to prematurity, and this has hindered the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal-4 target.
What is Premature Labor?
A full-term pregnancy lasts around 40 weeks, and labor can start before the 37th week of pregnancy in exceptional cases. It happens because the cervix opens sooner than usual due to uterine contractions. As a result, the baby is born prematurely, putting them at risk for health issues. Premature newborns’ health has significantly improved recent advancements in the study, technology, and medicine.
Signs of Premature Labor
In most cases, labor starts by itself, and the signs will usually be the same as labor that starts at full term.
The signs of premature labor include:
- pressure in the pelvis, as if the baby is pushing down
- on the lower part of the belly
- belly, accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- constant lower back pain
- a change in your vaginal discharge, or more discharge than normal
- mucous, blood, or fluid leaking from your vagina
- waters breaking
- regular contractions, or contractions that come more than four times an hour
- baby’s movements slowing down or stopping
Any pregnancy is either affected by preterm labor. However, several variables have been linked to an increased risk of premature labor, including:
- Preterm labor or premature delivery in the past, especially in the most recent pregnancy or in previous pregnancies
- Twins, triplets, or other multiples during pregnancy
- A cervix that has shrunk
- Obstructions to the uterus or the placenta
- Using illegal drugs or smoking cigarettes
- Infections present in amniotic fluid and lower genital tract, in particular
- High blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune illness, and depression are chronic disorders.
- Life tragedies that are stressful, such as the death of a loved one
- There is an excessive amount of amniotic fluid in the womb (polyhydramnios)
- During pregnancy, you may have vaginal bleeding.
- A congenital fetal disability is present.
- An interval between pregnancies of fewer than 12 months — or more than 59 months —
- Mother’s age, both young and old
- of non-Hispanic race and ethnicity
Complications of preterm labor include delivering a preterm baby. It can pose several health concerns for your baby, such as low birth weight, breathing difficulties, underdeveloped organs, and vision problems. Children born prematurely also have a higher risk of cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, and behavioral issues.
Is it possible to lower your risk of preterm labor and birth?
Yes, you may be able to lower your chances of having early labor and birth. Some risk factors are unavoidable, such as having given birth prematurely in a prior pregnancy, and others, such as stopping smoking, are things you can control.
Here are some things you can take to lower your chances of preterm labor and early birth:
- Before you get pregnant, get to a healthy weight and gain the proper weight during your pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about how much weight you should achieve before and throughout pregnancy.
- Don’t smoke, consume alcohol, or use illegal or prescription medications. Inquire with your healthcare practitioner about programs that might assist you with quitting.
- Schedule your first prenatal care appointment as soon as you suspect you’re pregnant. Even if you’re feeling well, go to all of your prenatal care appointments during your pregnancy. Prenatal care helps your doctor ensure that you and your baby are in good health.
- Get help for chronic health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and thyroid issues. Depression is a medical disorder in which you have persistent emotions of melancholy that interfere with your everyday life. It is treated to improve. The thyroid is a gland in your neck that produces hormones that aid in storing and using dietary energy.
- Protect yourself against infections. Consult your healthcare professional about immunizations that can help you avoid certain diseases. After using the restroom or blowing your nose, wash your hands with soap and water. Avoid raw meat, fish, or eggs. Have a secure sex experience. Do not come into contact with cat feces.
- Relax and de-stress. Every day, eat nutritious meals and engage in physical activity. Access the support of relatives and friends to help you around the house or with other youngsters. If your partner is abusing you, get help. Speak with your supervisor about ways to reduce your job stress.
It’s important to remember that most women with these risk factors will carry their pregnancy to full term. However, it’s helpful to be aware of your risk to be thoroughly evaluated and closely monitored by your doctor or consult the Best Female Specialist in Karachi through Marham.pk or download the Marham app to get discounts on Lab tests, medicine and inline Consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Can a 27-week baby survive?
They are characterized as being exceedingly premature. Most kids born at 26 weeks (80%) survive, whereas those delivered at 28 weeks have a 94 percent survival rate. And the majority of kids delivered beyond 27 weeks have no neurological issues.
2- How early can you safely give birth?
A premature or preterm baby is delivered before the 37th week of pregnancy. A preterm baby is born between the ages of 23 and 28 weeks. Infants that are moderately preterm are born between 29 and 33 weeks.
3- Can a baby survive if the mother dies?
The gases that build up inside the corpse during decomposition result in the expulsion of the fetus. If the mother’s body is decomposed enough for this to happen, the fetus will be long dead too. The fetus cannot survive long inside a dead body since it receives its oxygen and nutrients from the mother.