Expecting a baby? While moms-to-be would want to deliver a baby after a full term, few circumstances might lead to pre-term delivery of the baby, which might occur naturally or induced by the obstetrician owing to few health risks that might hinder the life of the baby or the mother. Such babies are called as premature or preterm babies as they are delivered before reaching 37 weeks of pregnancy. This is because carrying a baby for a full period of 40 weeks is considered as a full term.
If your baby is born before the completion of 37 weeks of pregnancy, she will be considered a preterm baby. Preterm births have a few subcategories, based on the gestation age of the baby.
- A baby born before 28 weeks gestation is considered extremely premature.
- A baby born between 28 and 32 weeks is considered very premature.
- A baby born between 32 and 37 weeks is known as moderate preterm baby.
Though premature birth is common these days, it is essential to be aware of the various cause
Causes of Preterm Labour:
There may be several risk factors associated with a preterm labour- here we’ve listed down some of the most common causes of a premature labor.
Any kind of infection affecting the mother might lead to premature labor. The development of bacteria can make the internal membranes get weaker, and may also affect the amniotic sac, which in turn can rupture the membranes. This is generally known as “water breaking”.
A common infection that can cause you to deliver a premature baby is known as bacterial vaginosis or BV, which is common among pregnant women. The symptoms that are associated with this infection include
- Burning sensation while urinating.
- Vaginal discharge-mostly light white or gray in colour.
- Irritation occurring in the skin of your genital region.
Other infections such as Chlamydia, trichomoniosis and gonorrhea can also lead to premature delivery.
[ Read : Infections During Pregnancy ]
History Of Premature Birth:
If you already have a child with a premature delivery, you are at high risk of delivering a premature baby next time you conceive. You would be advised medications to evade contractions and bed rest to avoid another premature delivery. Always make sure to consult with your doctor before you plan for a second baby if you already have a premature baby.
Various health issues that the mother may develop during pregnancy such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia or a blood clotting condition, heart issues or lupus can be the underlying cause of initiating a premature delivery. Mostly, doctors would schedule a caesarean section when the mom or the baby is prone to any health complication. This is because sometimes allowing the mother to stay pregnant for some more days might put the mother or her baby to high health risks.
Mothers, who have an unhealthy lifestyle and have low body weight, undervalued prenatal care or malnutrition issues are likely to have pre-mature deliveries. Also habits like smoking, consuming lots of alcohol, too much drugs, emotional issues like depression, stress or anxiety and working too much can lead to premature birth of babies.
Multiple Babies In Womb:
Moms who are opting for various methods to conceive such as IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) can sometimes have twins, triplets or quadruplets, which might cause premature births. When more than one foetus is carried during a single pregnancy, your doctor would advise early induction to save all the babies in the womb.
Short Intervals Between Two Pregnancies:
If you have conceived your second baby within a period of 6 to 9 months of delivering your first baby- it may be a risk factor for a premature birth. Studies show that a spacing between 6 months to 11 months is essential for a woman to get pregnant again as it can avoid all kinds of birth defects, low birth weight and preterm births.
But many times, premature births occur without any apparent cause. No matter the cause, most premature babies have to deal with a number of health complications.
Complications & Risks Associated With A Premature Baby:
When you have a premature baby, you have to take extreme care of your newborn to make sure that he or she is free from all kinds of risks associated with a preterm delivery. However, complications of preterm labor tend to last for many years, even after your child grows.
First let us give you the good news. Not all premature babies experience complications. This is especially true if your baby is born after 32 weeks of gestation. The chances of survival go up dramatically after 28 weeks. There have been a number of cases where babies born as early as 25 weeks have lived on! This is the miracle of modern medicine.