7 Important Tips On How To Prevent Preterm Birth

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Ways To Prevent Preterm Birth

Preterm birth, or having a baby before the 37th week of your pregnancy, can cause many health issues in your baby. While it's not possible to entirely prevent this, you can lower the risk. Improve your general health, prevent infections, manage your weight, and reduce stress through yoga. Also avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. Most importantly, don't skip any health checkup appointments.

Preterm births are on the rise in the United States. When a baby is born before the 37 weeks of pregnancy duration, it is called a preterm birth. According to a report from the National Center For Health Statistics (NCHS), the preterm birth rates in the US rose from 2% in 2015 to 9.84% in 2016.

Preterm births can lead to numerous complications in the baby. If the fetus is not completely developed, such as if the baby’s lungs are underdeveloped, it can lead to alarming complications. Breathing problems, renal problems, and developmental problems all can be associated with preterm births. So what can you do as the carrying mother to reduce the risk of preterm birth?

7 Tips On How To Prevent Preterm Birth

While the definite reason or cause for preterm births is still unknown or indecisive, there are some things a carrying mother can do to reduce the chances of preterm birth in her pregnancy. Given below are a list of things you can follow:

1. Don’t Miss Prenatal Appointments

The minute your doctor confirms your pregnancy, follow up with a checkup and do not miss any of your prenatal appointments. It is natural to feel tired and nauseous during pregnancy, but however tired you are, don’t miss your check ups. Sometimes, you may feel fine and seem healthy too, but there is no harm getting a checkup done to be sure your little one is healthy.

2. Avoid All Types Of Intoxicants

Refrain from any kind of intoxicants. Studies show that mothers who drink, smoke, or use drugs have a higher chance of undergoing preterm births than mothers who don’t. Smoking and drinking can also disrupt your baby’s brain development. Many studies have shown, mothers who smoked or drank during pregnancy gave birth to underdeveloped babies or babies who suffered from mental problems. Even passive smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby. If you smoke, drink or use drugs, talk to your doctor and get the necessary help to quit.

3. Manage Your Weight

Obesity during pregnancy is another factor that affects preterm births. Talk to your healthcare provider or midwife about your weight during pregnancy. Maintain a healthy diet and exercise plan to keep your weight in check and ensure your pregnancy is safe and secure.1

4. Improve Your General Health

If you suffer from any chronic disorders such as diabetes, blood pressure, or thyroid problems, get treated as soon as possible. The key to a healthy pregnancy is your health. Therefore eat healthy and keep exercising.

5. Prevent Infections

During your pregnancy, your body is more prone to infections than on regular days. Keep yourself away from any infections. Avoid eating raw meat or fish. Don’t touch cat poop and wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom. If you blow out your nose or nurse babies, wash your hands clean.2

6. Reduce Stress

Stress is one of the major causes of preterm births or labors. Try to be calm and relaxed throughout your pregnancy. Make sure your environment too is relaxing and comfortable. Get rid of any anxious thoughts and seek help from friends and family in times of distress. Opt for prenatal yoga and water exercises to stay relaxed.

7. Take A Break Before A Second Child

Before you opt for a second pregnancy, let your body heal from your first childbirth. Take at least an 18-month break between your first childbirth and your second pregnancy.

Know Your Symptoms

Despite all the efforts, some women may still undergo preterm births. While there is not much you can do, the least you can do is know the signs and take the necessary steps. Given below are a list of signs you can watch out for in your pregnancy.

  • If your vaginal discharge is more than usual and if you notice a change in your discharge (watery, bloody, or filled with mucus)
  • If you feel any pressure in your pelvis or lower belly, almost like your baby is pushing down
  • A constant backache even if it dull and bearable
  • Belly cramps accompanied by diarrhea or without diarrhea
  • Frequent contractions where you feel like your belly tightens like a fist
  • Your water breaks

If you experience any of the above symptoms before your 37 weeks of pregnancy, or if you have a doubt you’re having a preterm labor, call your doctor immediately. Sometimes, you may not experience all of these symptoms and may notice only one or a few. Discuss with your doctor even if you notice any one of these symptoms. There are many treatments that can slow down your preterm labor. If your baby is born early, treatments such as antenatal corticosteroids can help overcome any health problems your baby may face.

References   [ + ]

1.Cnattingius, Sven, Eduardo Villamor, Stefan Johansson, Anna-Karin Edstedt Bonamy, Martina Persson, Anna-Karin Wikström, and Fredrik Granath. “Maternal obesity and risk of preterm delivery.” Jama 309, no. 22 (2013): 2362-2370.
2.10 Tips for Preventing Infections Before and During Pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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