Premature Labor: What Causes It and How You Can Prevent It

Pregnancy is typically a period of joy and happiness, yet it can also be a period of instability. Numerous women worry about the health and state of their infant, wondering if everything is alright? There are even more concerns about going into an early labor.

A premature labor occurs in around 12% of all pregnancies. It’s more prevalent than ever due to the lifestyle that most women have, such as long hours of standing, and lack of physical care. In any case, by knowing the signs and being aware of what can cause early labor will often decrease a women's chance of premature labor.

What causes Premature Labor?

9  Being Pregnant with Twins or Multiples

Pregnancies with twins or multiples are getting more common since they are connected to widely used medications, which are turning out to be more accessible. The most widely recognized pregnancies for multiples are twins. Infertility treatments are linked to twin births as well.

Most women who are pregnant with twins have healthy children, however, there are risks associated with it. Carrying more than one can increase the risks for the mother and the child, causing premature labor. Normally, the mothers are aware if they are pregnant with multiples by the 20 week period of their pregnancy.

The average length of pregnancy for twins or multiples range from 32 to 37 weeks. If the babies are not born within that time period, labors are induced to prevent further health risks. 

8  A Previous Premature Birth

If your first child was of a premature birth, it is likely that you will have another during your second pregnancy. There's a higher chance of premature birth if the previous child was born between 20 weeks and 31 weeks. However, the risk is reduced if the first born was between 32 weeks and 36 weeks.

It's common if you are worried about having another premature birth. Most mothers who had a premature birth are said to monitor the second pregnancy. While there are no assurances there are things you can do to reduce your risk of having an early birth. One way to reduce the risk of premature birth is scheduling your antenatal care once you find out you are pregnant.

This is vital to ensure a healthy baby and a healthy mother. Go to every appointment even when you feel like they aren't needed. You can also liaise with your midwife to ensure an even smoother pregnancy. Another simple way is staying at a reasonable weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you are overweight this can cause severe complications which can lead to an early birth.

7  Cervical Length or Other Changes

There are many women who find it difficult carrying a baby full term due to a malformed, extremely large, or abnormalities in the uterus. This can also cause problems with the cervix such as having a short cervical length or an incompetent cervix. When the cervix is unable to stay closed its unsupportive during the pregnancy.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that cervical length at around 20 to 24 weeks into a pregnancy is the biggest indicator of a pregnant woman's risk of premature birth. The length of the cervix is precisely measured by an ultrasound, which your specialist may not consider doing unless you particularly ask for it. Typical cervical length is 4 to 5 cm when not pregnant.

How do you find this out? Request your doctor to do a transvaginal ultrasound to measure the length of your cervix. This will consider if a preterm birth is at risk. Following the trans-vaginal ultrasound, your doctor may want to do a standard exam to see if the cervix has softened, thinned, or dilated. 

6  High Levels of Stress

Being a mother and bringing another individual into the world is not easy. You stress over everything. Are the foods I'm eating nourishment enough? Are my everyday movements okay for the baby? Is it safe to workout? In any manner, you tend to watch and worry about everything before the child is born and its natural.

Some anxiety amid pregnancy is expected, just as it is for life in general. However, when stressing becomes an everyday matter the effects for you and your baby can be harming to the body. When stressed, your body is slowing down and trying to adjust to the unusual levels of hormones. These hormones surge when you are at risk and can cause issues with your health.

This will impact your muscles by sending fuel to them and will also pump your heart a lot quicker. Stressed hormones play a crucial role in the development of the unborn child. The woman can not only affect her health but also lead her to depression during the pregnancy. With unexplained triggers, the child would be vulnerable to permanent damages such as lung disease, cerebral palsy, blindness, and deafness.

The best way to move to a more positive lifestyle that does not affect you and your baby, one must rest, eat well, exercise and focus on the baby's well-being. Allow others to assist you during this time and make sure that you as a mother take care of yourself as well. 

5  Use of Cigarettes, Alcohol or 

4 Illegal Drugs

Sadly, certain drugs are widely used due to a person's lifestyle or habits. During pregnancy, you should be aware of the things you are consuming because everything that you eat, smoke or drink will be passed on to the baby. This will affect the baby's overall development. In addition to illegal drugs, any form of medication that is not approved by your doctor and can also be harmful to the baby's health.

Prior to taking medications, make sure you read the label and ask your doctor if this is healthy for you and your baby.

To clarify, the following drugs can cause serious health problems for the baby. Amphetamines are linked to heart defects in babies born to women who used them. These drugs taken during pregnancy can cause a preterm birth as well as a miscarriage. Other drugs like cocaine and marijuana can cause contractions of the uterus and a baby with a low birth weight.

The cocaine can cause a stillbirth and birth defects while marijuana develops learning problems in the unborn child. Other forms of illicit drugs like glues and solvents are things often sniffed by women during pregnancy. These fumes may cause the pregnancy to suffer an early birth and joint and limb problems.

Remember, you consume any drugs, your baby will be consuming them also. Drugs will affect a baby before and after birth. Prior to the birth, drugs can reach the fetus by passing through the placenta and after the baby is born, drugs can be given through the mothers breastfeeding. 

3  Working Long Hours with Long Periods of Standing

Every mother is a hard worker who wants to provide for their child, however, working long hours and standing for far too long can increase pressure in your body's blood vessels. Why do you ask? The pelvis is pressed by the weight and your baby. The blood vessels compresses which become hard for the blood to flow properly through your lower body and to your heart.

This blockage of the blood in your lower body can cause your uterus to contract to allow the blood to go through to your heart. In the event that you continue to stand once compressions start, the withdrawals can get to be normal. In the event that the cervix opens, the water breaks and becomes harder to stop premature labor.

Additionally, with the force of changes in your body due to excessive standing, this brings risk to an infection after labor.The best way to avoid premature labor while working is adjusting your daily routines. Rest your feet throughout the day and get extra rest. if you lie down each morning and afternoon for 15-30 minutes, it will make all the difference.

Also, when working, do not work overtime if you are unable to take breaks between hours. Ensure that you have adjustable hours for the safety of you and your child. 

2  Not Scheduling Prenatal Care

A healthy baby is an essential idea for all pregnancies. It is even more essential than ever as prenatal care is being taken for granted during pregnancy. One of the best and easiest ways to reduce the risk of premature labor is to see your doctor as soon as you know that you are pregnant. Prenatal care is a direct source to assess the health of the baby and mother as well as any problem before they arise.

Why is prenatal care so important? Prenatal care plays a vital role in reducing the risk of pregnancy- related complications such as diabetes, preeclampsia, and anemia. Without prenatal care, the child is three times more likely to be born with a low birth weight. While getting pre-birth care, pregnant moms will receive advice and information on nutrition by their doctors for a sound pregnancy.

This will control prior conditions or pregnancy-related conditions that can muddle pregnancy, and ensure that the infant is developing and grow suitably.

Your doctor will advise you on what you should eat and how to gain the proper amount of weight so that you are not harming your body. It is also advised to seek prenatal care to prevent any infections that can cause harm to you and your baby. With prenatal care, specific vitamins are given because mothers-to-be often lose certain amounts of nutrition because it is transferred to the baby.

Amongst that, there are specific nutrients needed for folic acid which can prevent birth defects. Other vitamins and supplements will be recommended for a balanced, healthy diet. 

1  Lack of Social Support

Support is always needed for everyone in any area of life. Expecting mothers who receive social support from family and friends during pregnancy appear to be better off from extreme stress levels, which will also protect them from depression after giving birth.

Pregnancy is considered a vulnerable time for women. Low social support is correlated with low birth weight, poor labor, and anxiety. In addition, social support affects pregnancy behaviors and lifestyle habits which include the outcome of the pregnancy and the response to stress. There are ways to show support to pregnant mothers.

One way is by asking questions about their fears and concerns. This will be effective because you are listening and showing that you care without judgment. Another way to show support is by assisting the mother in preparing for the babies arrival. Help decorate the baby’s room or purchase a few essentials for the baby so that it’s one thing the mom has to worry about getting.

This is a simple way of showing the support for the mother. Overall, it is suggested that mothers-to-be get support from family members and friends in order to prevent postpartum depression and premature births. And of course, there's no better support than you significant other!

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