What is the most common cause of premature birth?
Common causes of preterm birth include multiple pregnancies, infections and chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure; however, often no cause is identified. There could also be a genetic influence.
A full pregnancy lasts approximately 40 weeks , while premature birth is defined as cramps that cause the cervix to open before the 37th week of pregnancy .
Often the causes of premature birth are unknown, but this is not the end of the story, the correct handling of the body during pregnancy may reduce the risk of premature birth significantly.
Symptoms of premature birth
We can’t mistake the signs of premature labor in some women. But, sometimes the signs are less clear, and therefore it is necessary to note the appearance of the following preterm labor symptoms :
Cramps in the lower abdomen, more than 8 times an hour. These cramps cause a feeling of stretching in the abdomen and are reminiscent of menstrual pain.
Dull pain in the lower back.
Feeling of increased pressure in the pelvic area.
Fluid discharge from the vagina.
In case of doubt about the existence of one of these signs, especially if bleeding appears, you should go to the doctor immediately.
Causes and risk factors for preterm birth
Premature birth can occur in every woman and in every pregnancy. However, there are cases in which the prevalence of preterm births is high. Reasons for preterm birth include:
Preterm birth in the past.
Pregnancy with twins or triplets.
Disorders of the vagina, uterus or placenta.
Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and using drugs.
Various infections, especially those affecting the amniotic fluid or the reproductive system.
Chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Weight loss or gain before pregnancy, and a slight or significant increase in weight during pregnancy itself.
Recurrent miscarriage in the past.
Complications of premature birth
If premature birth is not prevented, the baby will be born very early. The earlier the birth occurs, the greater the risk of many complications, such as:
Low birth weight, difficulty breathing due to immature lungs, insufficiently mature organs and a life-threatening infection.
Studies have shown that babies born early in pregnancy have an increased risk of learning delays, developmental disorders and behavioral problems.
premature birth treatment
If the contractions begin to appear prematurely, it is recommended to drink half a liter of water or juice. If the situation is caused by a simulation of childbirth, the fluid will stop this process. If the spasms persist, you should lie down, and the priority is on the left side. While lying down, the blood supply to the placenta will increase and the cramps may stop.
Constant bed rest is sometimes recommended, although this has not been shown to prevent pregnancy complications or premature birth.
If the cramps persist, you must go to the hospital, and there, with the help of the monitoring device, it is possible to estimate whether what is meant is a state of labor, what is its intensity and its frequency. In addition, the condition of the cervix can be assessed by ultrasound imaging.
Cramps can be stopped with medication and eventually you will be on time.
But in cases where the birth has reached an advanced stage and cannot be postponed for the specified time, or in cases of infection or other complications that threaten the life of the mother or fetus, premature birth continues.
At this stage, the pregnant woman can be given medications that help delay childbirth a little, and steroids are also given to speed up the maturation of the fetus’s lung. In many cases, the fetus’s lungs have matured after the 34th week of pregnancy and there is no need to give steroids.
Prevention of premature birth
Follow-up during pregnancy – the stages of pregnancy must be followed up, as is the practice, with the gynecologist , throughout the pregnancy. During the periodic examinations, the doctor conducts an assessment of the health of the pregnancy and the safety of the fetus.
Maintain proper nutrition – During pregnancy large amounts of folic acid, iron, calcium, protein and other nutrients are needed. Taking pre-pregnancy multivitamin pills will help supplement all nutritional deficiencies.
Balancing chronic diseases – A stable and balanced situation for chronic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, must be maintained before pregnancy because these diseases increase the risk of preterm birth.
Reducing activity – if signs of preterm labor begin to appear, it is recommended to reduce the hours of work and the time the pregnant woman spends on her feet. In general, moderate physical activity at all is recommended.
Avoid harmful substances – if you smoke during pregnancy you should avoid it. It also prevents alcohol and drug abuse. The use of medicines should be monitored, and it is recommended that you consult with your doctor.
Get counseling about sex – If you develop vaginal bleeding or problems with your cervix and placenta, you should check if you can continue to have sex during pregnancy. If there are no such symptoms there is no need for advice.
Stress Reduction – Set rules for work, activity and rest hours and stick to them!
Maintaining oral hygiene – brushing the teeth, flossing, washing the mouth and regular visits to the dentist and dental hygienist. Studies have shown that there may be a link between poor oral health and premature birth.
Injections – If you have a precedent in preterm labor and miscarriage, your doctor can recommend weekly injections of progesterone.