Although pregnancy is supposed to be the happiest time of women’s lives, it could also be filled with uncertainty.
There are a lot of women thinking about premature labor and asking whether everything is alright with their baby. You should know that about 12% of the pregnancies end with premature labor.
Information about labor that is premature
It is a known fact that in normal cases a pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks. Still in some cases pregnancy ends earlier, before the 37th week. This is because the contractions of the uterus make the cervix open earlier than it should. If a baby is born prematurely, he or she has higher chances of having health problems.
Even if a woman enters labor that is premature, due to technology, research and medicine, doctors can improve the health of the baby and the chances of the little one having problems on the long term are getting smaller and smaller. This is why you shouldn’t worry about this.
Risks of premature labor
The truth is that at this moment the exact causes of the problem aren’t known. Still there are some known risk factors that increase the chances of women to enter premature labor.
Nonetheless the presence of a risk factor doesn’t mean that the woman in question will certainly enter premature labor.
It is possible for labor that is premature to appear without any obvious reason. However it is important to keep an eye out for the well-known risk factors and you should also know what to do if the process begins.
The chances of entering premature labor increase if you are pregnant with multiples, if you had such a labor before or you have cervical or uterine abnormalities.
There are some medical risks as well, like recurring kidney or bladder infections, vaginal infections, urinary tract infections or STIs.
The risk factors of labor that is premature also include infection that causes a fever higher than 101 degrees F while being pregnant, vaginal bleeding after the 20th week of pregnancy, some chronic illness, like kidney disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, and having several first trimester or second trimester abortions.
It is more likely that you will be affected by premature labor if you were underweight or overweight before pregnancy, if you are affected by clotting disorder, if you are pregnant with only one fetus as a result of IVF or you had a short time between two pregnancies.
Let’s not forget that labor that is premature could also be induced by lifestyle factors like no or little prenatal care, smoking, consuming alcohol, the use of illegal drugs, domestic violence such as – physical, sexual or emotional abuse – no social support, stress, low income and long working hours.
It is possible to prevent premature labor if you know the signs to look out for. If you think that you are entering labor make sure that you call your health care provider. The signs that should alarm you include frequent contractions for more than 1 hour and fluid leaking from the vagina.
Some other signs that could refer to labor that is premature involve cramps of the lower abdomen that could come and go or could be constant, backache under the waistline that are constant or that come and go, pelvic pressure and a feeling that the baby is pushing down.
Some other signs of premature labor include abdominal cramps that could be accompanied by diarrhea and a change of some kind or an increase of the vaginal discharge. Make sure that you keep an eye out for all of these possible signs and symptoms.