Irrespective of whether you do everything right during your pregnancy or not, there are chances that complications may arise, which includes preterm labor. Therefore, if you are facing any of the below mentioned symptoms, please call up your doctor immediately.1
- Four or more contractions per hour, with or without pain
- Severe cramps similar to that of your periods
- Vaginal pressure, feeling that your baby might just pope out
- Increased vaginal discharge, loss of mucous plug
- Low backache (might be inconsistent)
- Increased bowel movements or diarrhea
- Decrease in baby’s activity
- Mother’s intuition that something is not right
Unfortunately, most women are ignorant of the signs (as they consider them to be discomforts of pregnancy) until it’s too late. What needs to be understood is that early detection can actually prevent premature birth and also enable you to carry your baby to full term.
What Causes It?
Even if the medical world has not yet been able to pinpoint the specific cause for preterm labor, lots of different things increases the risk of premature labor, such as:
- Being obese or underweight before pregnancy
- Not receiving good prenatal care
- Consuming alcohol or using street drugs
- Certain health conditions such as hypertension, preclampsia, blood clotting disorders and even infections
- Being pregnant from in vitro fertilization
- Family history of preterm labor
- Getting pregnant soon after delivering a baby
Currently, there is no assured method of preventing preterm labor, however, if you are going through any discomfort, you should immediately bring it to your doctor’s notice
Various infections in the vagina can onset premature labor. Any symptoms of vaginal infections should be checked out and treated.
It is important to stay hydrated throughout your pregnancy. Dehydration can cause preterm labor. Therefore, remember to consume water at regular intervals.
Adhering To Your Prenatal Appointments
It is important to go for regular check-ups when pregnant. What may look normal can be one of the reason that sets off preterm labor. If diagnosed, treat it as early as possible.
Management Of Preterm Labor
When doctors/midwife diagnose a preterm labor, they begin its management by first establishing the cause and ensuring that delivery happens under optimal conditions. The doctor would also talk about the pros and cons of delaying delivery. This decision is based on a risk-benefit analysis of both the mother and child. Currently, the pharmacological considerations available for preterm labor includes administration of anti-biotics, tocolytics, and steroids.
Beverly A. Von Der Pool, M.D., an assistant professor and director of family medicine predoctoral education and family-centered maternal care programs thinks that the preterm labor treatment is fraught with controversy, with little areas of consensus. The physician manages preterm labor by considering aspects which are both safe for the mother and the child and at present, corticosteroid is the only treatment that has shown fetal survival and outcome. However, all the available treatments have been found to affect both the mother and the child and therefore, further studies are needed to find a marker with higher predictive value for preterm labor.2
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