Preterm labor is another term for premature labor. It occurs when your body begins preparing for birth too early in your pregnancy. Labor is considered premature if it begins more than three weeks before your due date.
Premature labor can result in premature birth, but of course, it’s not good. The longer your baby grows inside you, right up to your due date, the less likely they will experience complications following birth. Here the question arises of why premature labor happens, and here are some of the factors that may cause premature labor.
Why Premature Labor Happens?
Many factors have been linked to an increased risk of premature labor, including:
- Previous preterm labor or premature birth, especially in the most recent pregnancy or in more than one prior pregnancy
- Twins, triplets, or other multiples pregnancy
- Cervical shortening
- Obstacles to the uterus or placenta
- Using smokes or illegal drugs
- Certain diseases, notably those affecting the amniotic fluid and the lower vaginal tract
- Some chronic diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, autoimmune illness, and depression
- Life events that cause stress, such as the death of a loved one
- Excessive amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios)
- Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy
- A congenital fetal disability is present.
- An interval between pregnancies of less than 12 months or more than 59 months
- Mother’s age, both young and old,
- Non-Hispanic race and ethnicity, Black
- Abdominal tightening on a regular or recurrent basis (contractions)
- Low, dull backache that persists
- A feeling of pelvic or lower abdominal pressure
- Mild stomach cramps
- Spots or mild bleeding in the cervix
- Premature rupture of membranes – the release of fluid in flood or a steady trickle once the membrane around the baby breaks or splits.
- A change in vaginal discharge type — watery, mucus-like, or bloody
Once you’re in labor, no drugs or surgical techniques can stop it permanently. However, your doctor may advise you to take the following medications:
Corticosteroids can aid in your baby’s lung maturation. If you are between 23 and 34 weeks, your doctor would most likely advise you to take corticosteroids if you are deemed to be at high risk of giving birth within the following one to seven days. If you are in danger of having a baby between 34 and 37 weeks, your doctor may advise you to take steroids.
If you are less than 34 weeks pregnant, at risk of delivering within seven days, and have had a previous course of corticosteroids more than 14 days ago, you may be offered a repeat course of corticosteroids.
If you are at high risk of giving birth between weeks 24 and 32 of your pregnancy, your doctor may recommend magnesium sulfate. It may lessen the chance of a specific type of brain injury (cerebral palsy) in kids born before 32 weeks of gestation.
To temporarily slow your contractions, your doctor may give you a drug called a tocolytic. Tocolytics may be taken for 48 hours to postpone preterm labor so that corticosteroids can be utilized to their full potential or, if required, to transport you to a hospital that can provide specialized care for your tiny infant.
Tocolytics do not address the underlying cause of preterm labor and have not been proven to enhance baby outcomes generally. Your doctor will not recommend a tocolytic if you have specific issues, such as pregnancy-induced high blood pressure.
If you are at risk of premature labor due to a short cervix, your doctor may recommend cervical cerclage surgery. The cervix is sewn shut with strong sutures during this surgery. Usually, the sutures are removed after 36 weeks of pregnancy, and Sutures can be released early if necessary.
Cervical cerclage may be advised if you are less than 24 weeks pregnant, have a history of premature birth, and ultrasound reveals that your cervix is opening or your cervical length is less than 25 millimeters.
Medication for Prevention
Suppose there is a history of premature births. In that case, your doctor may recommend weekly shots of hydroxyprogesteronecaproate, a type of the hormone progesterone, beginning in your second trimester and continuing until week 37 of pregnancy.
In addition, your doctor may recommend progesterone, which is injected into the vagina, as a prophylactic strategy against preterm birth. If you are examined with a short cervix before week 24 of pregnancy, your doctor may advise you to take progesterone until week 37 of pregnancy.
If you have a history of premature labor or premature birth, you are at risk of having another one. Work with your doctor to control any risk factors and recognize and respond to early warning signs and symptoms. You can book an appointment with the Best gynecologist in Islamabad to get expert advice through Marham.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1- What is the most common reason for preterm birth?
Multiple pregnancies, infections, and chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure are common reasons for preterm birth; however, no cause is often recognized. There may also be a hereditary component.
2- Will, my baby, be okay if they are born at 37 weeks?
The list of usual 37-week-old infant difficulties is short, so unless there is a medical ailment or birth trauma, a 37-week-old baby will often be able to stay with mom until it’s time to go home.
3- Do preterm babies develop normally?
The majority of preemies grow up to be healthy children. By the age of three, they are on average with full-term newborns in growth and development. However, your baby’s early years may be more complex than those of a full-term infant. Almost all preemies require special care because they are born before they are ready.