When your body starts getting ready for birth too early in your pregnancy it is called premature labour or preterm labour. Labour is premature if it starts more than three weeks before due date.
The reasons why: One or more than one of the reasons described here could cause preterm labour:
- Smoking, Alcohol, Drug Abuse can all lead to pre term labour, low birth weight and developmental problems in your baby. The toxins released by these vices, pass into the placenta and decrease the amount of oxygen available for your baby. So if you were ever planning on giving up the habit, now is a great time.
- Getting pregnant sooner than 18 months after your last delivery can increase the chances of a preterm birth. Try to keep the gap longer to avoid risks.
- Infections in the genital tract like bacterial vaginosis, STDs and infections in the uterus and amniotic fluid is responsible for more than half the pre term births. Drink water; use the bathroom as frequently as required. Do not try to hold going to the bathroom.
- Complications like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and placenta previa can make an early delivery more likely. Take control of the situation and go on a strict diet that will help you manage the ailment better.
- Structural abnormalities in the uterus and the cervix can make it difficult to carry a baby full term. The uterus could be abnormally large and the cervix could malfunction and not stay closed as it is supposed to during pregnancy.
- Pregnancy hormones make the mothers more susceptible to periodontal diseases that can cause preterm labour. The bacteria that cause the inflammation of the gums can actually travel through the blood stream, reach the foetus and cause an early delivery.
- Severe emotional stress like a trauma can cause the release of hormones that can trigger labour.
- Women who have jobs that are physically exhausting are more likely to deliver early. Try to take breaks in between to relax and stretch.
- Multiple pregnancies are more likely to be pre term than a singleton.
- The maternal age matters. Women who are younger than 17 and older than 35 are at high risk for a preterm labour and delivery. Watch your weight and eat right.
- If you have given birth early previously, then it is likely that your second one will also be preterm.
Having these risk factors in your life does not mean that you will necessarily have a preterm labour. Since you know the causes you can take the required precautions to avoid the preterm labour as much as possible. Similarly, even though you might be low risk, you might still go into preterm labour.
Therefore, it is important that you should be able to recognize it and seek help as soon as possible. Do not dismiss it as false labour.
Here is what you look out for:
- Regular contractions: The contractions should come every 10 minutes and not subside even when you change position.
- Vaginal discharge: If you sight blood- streaked discharge or vaginal bleeding.
- Fluid discharge: It could be because your water has broken. If could be amniotic fluid.
- Cramps: Severe cramps in the abdominal region and back.
- Back pain: A constant low, dull back pain in the back.
- Pelvic pressure: A significant increase in pressure in the pelvic area.
Keep in mind that you could have one or more than one of the symptoms and still not be in labour. Most women experience back pain and pelvic pressure at some point in pregnancy. The best thing to do is to take the doctor’s advice.