If the labor pains start and you start having regular contractions before completing 37 weeks of pregnancy then you are going through a preterm labor. In such a case your baby after your delivery will be considered a premature baby. Premature babies usually do not have their internal organs developed completely especially lungs. Babies born between 34 to 37 weeks of pregnancy are considered born premature. The premature babies often face health problems and sometimes if the gestation period is even less than 34 weeks the health problems can even be fatal and cost life. More mature the baby is at birth more are the chances for the baby to have good health.
Although most pregnancies complete the full gestation period of 40 weeks, sometimes due to some problems either the preterm labor is induced by the doctors or it happens naturally. Usually in case of multiple pregnancies or if you are pregnant with twins, you are at risk to get preterm labor. There are many other reasons also for a preterm labor. Some of the reasons for preterm labor are:
- Genital track infections: If you are suffering from bacterial infections of genital track such as bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis, you are at a risk to get preterm labor. This is because bacterial infections cause the weakening of tissues around amniotic sac, which results in the premature rupture of amniotic sac.
- Placental displacement: In some cases if the pregnant woman has placenta displacement problems such as placenta previa and placenta abruption, then there are chances of preterm labor. In placenta previa, the placenta is placed low in the uterus instead of being at the top of the uterus. This condition causes the closing of cervix completely or partially and results in preterm labor. Placental abruption is a condition when the placenta is separated from the uterus completely or partially and thus stopping all the nutrients and oxygen supply to fetus. This results in the preterm labor of death of fetus.
- Multiple-pregnancies: If you are pregnant with multiple fetuses than you may be having excessively large uterus and excessive amniotic fluid which may result in umbilical cord prolapse and preterm labor. Amniotic fluid surrounds your baby and protects it in the womb from any accident.
- Illness: If you are suffering from some chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and lupus, you may have the risk of preterm labor. The other diseases that can cause preterm labor include sickle cell, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, hepatitis, kidney infections, appendix and severe gingivitis.
You may also be at a risk of preterm labor if you had a previous preterm delivery, you are less than 17 years old or above 35 years old, overweight, underweight, short, or you smoke, take drugs, or had vaginal bleeding in more than one trimester.
To avoid preterm labor, you must take good care of your health. You should take plenty of rest, eat well and take balanced diet, start your prenatal care early, and see doctor regularly. Besides all this you should manage your stress level, take care of hygiene, and spend some quiet time so that you can focus your attention on your baby’s movements and feel any unusual aces and pressures in your womb.