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Your Expecting

Women who have experienced a preterm birth, a birth earlier than 37 weeks, are at an increased risk of preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies.  There are several risk factors that may increase your chance of delivering your baby too soon.

What Are The Risk Factors For Preterm Labor?

  • Having a premature baby in the past. 

  • Being pregnant with twins or multiples. 

  • Having problems with your uterus or cervix, such as a short cervix. 

  • Having an infection, including urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted infections, bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis. 

  • Having a chronic condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes. 

  • Bleeding during your first trimester. 

  • Having developmental abnormalities in the fetus 

  • Pregnancy resulting from in vitro fertilization 

  • Being underweight or obese prior to pregnancy 

  • Using tobacco, alcohol, or drugs while pregnant. 

  • Getting prenatal care late in your pregnancy. 

  • Going through a stressful event while pregnant.*

 

Signs or Symptoms Of Preterm Labor

  • Change in your vaginal discharge (watery, mucus or bloody) or more vaginal discharge than usual 

  • Pressure in your pelvis or lower belly, like your baby is pushing down 

  • Constant low, dull backache 

  • Belly cramps with or without diarrhea 

  • Regular or frequent contractions that make your belly tighten like a fist. The contractions may or may not be painful.

  • Your water breaks **

It is important to have an open dialogue with your provider, giving them a detailed history of all previous pregnancies to determine the best course of treatment for any current or future pregnancies.

 

Signs or Symptoms Of Preterm Labor

  • Change in your vaginal discharge (watery, mucus or bloody) or more vaginal discharge than usual 

  • Pressure in your pelvis or lower belly, like your baby is pushing down 

  • Constant low, dull backache 

  • Belly cramps with or without diarrhea 

  • Regular or frequent contractions that make your belly tighten like a fist. The contractions may or may not be painful.

  • Your water breaks **

It is important to have an open dialogue with your provider, giving them a detailed history of all previous pregnancies to determine the best course of treatment for any current or future pregnancies.

Preventing Preterm Labor

Because medical experts are not able to identify what causes preterm labor, there are many signs you should be aware of and discuss with your physician, midwife, or birth worker as soon as possible:

Seek early and regular prenatal care.

Seek early and regular prenatal care

 Prenatal visits can help your health care provider monitor your health and your baby's health. Seeking early and regular prenatal care allows you to discuss any signs or symptoms that concern you.  

Eat a balanced and healthy diet

Good nutrition is an important part of a healthy pregnancy. Some research suggests that a diet high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is associated with a lower risk of premature birth. PUFAs are found in nuts, seeds, fish and seed oils. 

Manage chronic conditions

Certain conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, increase the risk of preterm labor. Work with your health care provider to keep any chronic conditions under control.***

Avoid risky substances

If you smoke, it is important to try to quit as early as possible. Discuss your options with your provider. There are smoking cessation programs available to you that can increase your chances of success. It is also important not to use illicit drugs or alcohol during your pregnancy. 

Consider pregnancy spacing

 Some research suggests a link between pregnancies spaced less than six months apart, or more than 59 months apart, and an increased risk of premature birth. Consider talking to your health care provider about pregnancy spacing. 

Be cautious when using assisted reproductive technology (ART)

If you are planning to use ART to get pregnant, consider how many embryos will be implanted. Implanting more than one embryo increases your chances of a multiple pregnancy, which carries a higher risk of preterm labor. 

 

Preterm Treatments

Women who have already had a preterm birth have options to help reduce the risk of another preterm delivery.   

17P is a progesterone can help prevent preterm birth in some pregnant women who have already had a preterm birth.  Progesterone is a hormone that the woman’s body makes naturally during pregnancy. 

17P is a progesterone can help prevent preterm birth in some pregnant women who have already had a preterm birth.  Progesterone is a hormone that the woman’s body makes naturally during pregnancy. 

17P is a progesterone can help prevent preterm birth in some pregnant women who have already had a preterm birth.  Progesterone is a hormone that the woman’s body makes naturally during pregnancy. 

Cerclage—a procedure that stitches the cervix closed in order to prevent preterm birth. This treatment is typically suggested for women who have had premature babies or miscarriages, women with a short cervix, or who have a cervix that begins to open too early. ****

Signs or Symptoms Of Preterm Labor

  • Change in your vaginal discharge (watery, mucus or bloody) or more vaginal discharge than usual 

  • Pressure in your pelvis or lower belly, like your baby is pushing down 

  • Constant low, dull backache 

  • Belly cramps with or without diarrhea 

  • Regular or frequent contractions that make your belly tighten like a fist. The contractions may or may not be painful.

  • Your water breaks **

It is important to have an open dialogue with your provider, giving them a detailed history of all previous pregnancies to determine the best course of treatment for any current or future pregnancies.

 

Preterm Labor

If you do go into preterm labor, hospitals can provide additional medications to support you and the baby including antibiotics, steroids, and medications that slow or stop labor contractions temporarily. 

  • Antibiotics may be used to during pregnancy to treat and prevent infections in the baby and the mother.

  • Steroids can be used to help speed up the baby’s lung growth, which will decrease the chances of breathing problems if the baby is born too soon.  

  • Utilizing medications to slow or stop labor temporarily allows enough time for the steroids to help the baby’s developing lungs.v 

Speak to your provider (ob/gyn, nurse midwife, birth worker) about your concerns and the options available to you.  Your provider (ob/gyn, nurse midwife, birth worker) will be able to help determine the best treatment for you and your baby. 

NOTE FROM STEVE  - IS THERE A HANDOUT OR INFORMATION WE CAN LINK TO HERE, CREATE AS A HANDOUT, OR ADD TO EXPLAIN THE SIGNS OF LABOR - IT FEELS LIKE IT SHOULD GO HERE - IN MY OPINION

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