Signs of Premature Birth

March 4, 2009

The accepted length of time for a pregnancy is between 39 and 42 weeks, with 40 weeks being considered the norm. According to the definition of medical science, premature birth takes place 21 days before the due date.

Avoid Preterm Labor: Keep The Baby In Utero As Long As Possible

When a baby is born prematurely, it has had less time to develop in the womb than it needs to be strong and healthy. As a result, there is an increased risk of medical troubles, especially in the areas of breathing and brain development hindered by bleeding. If labor begins very early, the doctor may try to stall it as long as he can in order to provide as much time as possible in utero for the baby to develop. Even just a few days in the uterus can make a difference to a developing baby. Even though it is apparent that premature births are occurring more frequently, a healthy lifestyle is one way to prevent preterm labor and premature birth.

Signs To Watch For with Preterm Labor

There are physiological signs that can be indicators of trouble which may appear months before the due date. A woman who is in tune with her body and aware of the signs may be able to circumvent a premature birth. Some of the things to watch for are:

- Contractions (a tight feeling that is reminiscent of menstrual cramps) in the abdomen that happen more than six times per hour

- A dull pain low in the back

- Pain and/or pressure in the pelvis

- Diarrhea

- Spotting or bleeding from the vagina

- A watery vaginal discharge (this may indicate a leaking of amniotic fluid)

If any of these symptoms arise, or if you are concerned about the way you are feeling, contact your physician. Don't be embarrassed by thinking it may be false labor. Regardless, call the doctor.

Influencing Factors Of Preterm Labor And Birth

There are many factors which can influence premature birth, although the exact cause is not evident. The most common risk factors include having had a preterm labor or premature birth before; the birth of multiples, such as twins or triplets; placenta, cervix or uterine problems; lifestyle habits that are unhealthy such as smoking, drinking and drug use; infections; diabetes and high blood pressure; weight problems, both overweight and underweight; high stress and multiple miscarriages or abortions. It is important to know that many women who have premature labor and births have no indicators or previous health history to indicate they are at risk.

Proper Care And Awareness Help Avoid Preterm Labor

Proper prenatal care is very important because it can be a factor in the prevention of preterm labor and premature birth. If there seems to be any sign of risk for either, your health care provider will want to see you more often. If, at any time, you develop any signs of preterm labor, contact your health care provider immediately. Have the numbers handy. It is better to be safe than sorry.

 

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