Preconception Pregnancy Baby Parenting Grandparents
home > topics  

Premature Labor

There are things you want to show up early: payday, retirement, your first million. Then there are things you don't want to arrive early. Your baby is one of those. No matter how uncomfortable you are in the final weeks of your pregnancy, you want your baby to stay inside you at least through week 37, when their lungs are fully developed. But about ten percent of babies are born before week 37. They are pre-term deliveries, and thanks to thirty years of advances in newborn intensive care, more and more premature babies go home strong and healthy.

Doctors like to prevent preterm labor whenever they can though, and you are their best chance at doing so. Women at highest risk for a pre-term delivery tend to be ethnic minorities, under 18 years old or more than forty years old, underweight prior to their pregnancy, or suffering from a chronic disease like high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease. But more than half of "high risk" mothers do not deliver their babies early. And there are many other causes of premature birth, including carrying multiple fetuses, having malformations of the uterus or cervix, infections of the vagina, cervix, or uterus, and ruptured membranes. There are steps you can take to lower your chance of laboring early.

You should:

  • Reduce your exposure to sexually transmitted diseases.

  • Take good care of your body, and feed yourself and your baby well.

  • Quit smoking, alcohol, and drug use.

  • Avoid potentially harmful work conditions.

  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of pre-term labor.

This last is the most difficult. The symptoms of pre-term labor are identical to those of early labor, and similar to many associated with simply being pregnant. They include: three or more contractions in an hour; pain during urination (a possible urinary tract, bladder, or kidney infection); cramps, gas pain, or diarrhea; low back pain; pelvic pressure; and water breaking.

The best way to prepare yourself to avoid early labor is to learn what a uterine contraction feels like so you can identify one if you feel one and call your caregiver. If you think that you're going into labor early, empty your bladder and lie down on your left side and feel for contractions. If you count more than three contractions in an hour: rest on your side for an hour; drink two or three glasses of water or juice; and call your caregiver if your contractions do not become less frequent.

1   2  Next Page >>


Popular Pages:

Pregnancy TV
Cord Banking Basics
Ultrasound-3D Images

Bookmark and Share

Home . Site Map . About Us . Disclaimer . Privacy

All information on PregnancyWeekly is for educational purposes only. The place to get medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment is your health care provider. If you have any concerns about your health or the health of your baby, consult with your health care provider at once. Use of this site is subject to the Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.

Copyright © 2000 - 2017 CBR Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.