Full term pregnancy is 37 weeks. If you go into labor before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy, this is preterm or premature labor and too early for your baby to be born. Preterm or premature babies have a higher risk for lifelong or life-threatening health problems.
There are medications that can delay or stop preterm labor. In many cases these medications can delay the birth long enough to get mom to a hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit. If the baby still comes too early, there are also medications that can improve the baby’s health.
Symptoms of premature labor include:
- Contractions (abdomen tightening like a fist) every 10 minutes or more often
- Change in vaginal discharge (losing fluid or bleeding from the vagina)
- Pelvic pressure (a feeling like your baby is pushing down)
- Low, dull backache
- Cramps that feel like your monthly period
- Abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea
If you experience any “one” of the above symptoms you need to call your health care provider or go to the nearest hospital and/or emergency care unit right away.
Any pregnant woman can experience preterm labor and delivery. There are some women at higher risk for preterm labor. Researchers continue to study preterm labor and birth; they have identified some risk factors that include:
- Women who have had a previous preterm birth
- Women who are pregnant with twins, triplets or more
- Women with certain uterine or cervical abnormalities
Even if you are one in the above categories of high risk for a preterm birth, researchers still cannot predict which women will give birth too early. If you have a risk factor it does not mean you will be a woman to give birth too early. It just means you might be more likely to have problems of preterm labor or birth more so than other women.
Also if you are a woman in one of the high risk categories it is especially important for you to know the signs and symptoms of preterm labor and what to do.
Certain lifestyle factors may put a woman at greater risk of preterm labor. Lifestyle factors include:
- Late or no prenatal care
- Drinking alcohol
- Using illegal drugs
- Exposure to the medication DES
- Domestic violence (physical, sexual or emotional abuse)
- Lack of social support
- Long working hours with long periods of standing
The medical conditions during pregnancy that may increase the chances of a woman delivering too early include:
- Urinary tract infections
- Vaginal infections
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Possibly other infections
- High blood pressure
- Clotting disorders (thrombbophilia)
- Bleeding from the vagina
- Certain birth defects in the baby
- Being pregnant with a single fetus after in vitro fertilization (IVF)
- Being underweight before pregnancy
- Short time period between pregnancies (less than 6-9 months between birth and the beginning of the next pregnancy)
Other high risk categories researchers have identified include:
- Women younger than 17 or older than 35
- Poor women are at a greater risk than other women
Keep in mind that even if you have one of these risk factors, it does not mean for certain you will deliver your baby or babies early. This only means these are the risk factors identified by experts who study pregnancy and preterm labor. On the other hand, it is also possible for a woman to deliver early who is “not” in one of these high risk categories. Either way it is important to know:
- The signs and symptoms of preterm labor when you confirm a pregnancy
- Know what to do if you have any of the signs and symptoms of preterm labor
- Take very good care of yourself and your baby while you are pregnant to help ensure a full term delivery
Source: March of Dimes Association
Disclaimer: *This article is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any kind of a health problem. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Always consult with your health care provider about any kind of a health problem and especially before beginning any kind of an exercise routine.
BirthControlBuzz is a service company that provides birth control prices, birth control types (prescription required), health administrative services, and birth control statistics predominantly to US patients seeking to purchase birth control on-line. For more information on types of birth control call 1-866-868-8850 or visit http://www.birthcontrolbuzz.com/.
About the Author: Connie Limon, Trilogy Field Representative. Visit http://nutritionandhealthhub.com and sign up for a weekly nutrition and health tip. The article collection is available as FREE reprints for your newsletters, websites or blog. Visit http://www.healthylife27.com to purchase an array of superior quality, safe and effective products inspired by nature, informed by science and created to improve the health of people, pets and the planet.
Birth Control Buzz is a service company that provides birth control prices, types of birth control(prescription required), health administrative services, and birth control statistics predominantly to US patients seeking to purchase pharmaceuticals on-line. For more information, call 1-866-868-8850 or visit http://www.birthcontrolbuzz.com/.