Preterm labor is defined as labor that begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Labor is the procedure by which your body gives birth to your baby. Preterm labor can result in premature delivery. Premature birth occurs when your baby is born before the 37th week of pregnancy.Some prenatal tests are just screening tests, revealing the likelihood of a disease. Other prenatal tests are diagnostic tests that determine whether or not a fetus has a specific condition. A diagnostic test is occasionally performed after a screening test.
What factors contribute to premature labor?
In most women, the etiology is unknown. The following are known causes of premature labor:
- Bleeding in the cervix
- Changes in hormones
The uterus is stretched. This might be due to having more than one kid, having a huge baby, or having too much amniotic fluid.
Who is susceptible to premature labor?
The majority of women who have preterm labor have no identified risk factors. However, several factors increase a woman’s chance of premature labor. These are some examples:
- Being under the age of 20 or above the age of 35
- Chronic illnesses, such as heart disease or renal disease
- Cocaine and other illicit substances
- Uterus with an unusual form
- The cervix is unable to shut.
- Having had a previous premature birth
- Being Black in America
- Early separation of the placenta from the uterus
- An improper location of the placenta
- Placenta that does not function properly
- Early sac rupture surrounding the infant (premature rupture of membranes)
- Birth malformations in children
- Obstacles to Fetal Growth
- There is more than one kid in the womb.
What are the signs of premature labor?
The following are the most prevalent signs of premature labor:
- Contractions of the uterus, particularly more than four in one hour
- Menstrual cramping
- Lower abdominal pressure
- Variation in the kind or quantity of vaginal discharge. This might be blood, mucous, or a clear fluid.
- a flood of vaginal fluid
How is preterm labor identified?
If your doctor suspects you are in preterm labor, you will most likely be admitted to the hospital. An electronic monitor is used to track how frequently contractions occur and how long they persist. A little device (transducer) is put over your tummy with a belt in this monitor. The transducer detects and transmits contraction information to the monitor. Your baby’s heart rate is frequently checked as well.
Other methods of detecting preterm labor include:
- Cervical examination. Your doctor will examine your cervix for changes.
- Ultrasound examination of the cervix. An ultrasound instrument (transducer) is put within the vagina to perform this check. The exam allows your doctor to measure the length of your cervix.
- Amniotic fluid testing This alerts your provider if the sac around the baby has ruptured.
- Fetal fibronectin testing (fFN). The protein FFN is present between the amniotic membrane and the uterine lining. A cervical or vaginal fluid sample is tested for fFN. If it is discovered, it might be an indicator of premature labor.
What is the treatment for premature labor?
Preterm labor treatment may include:
- Rest in bed. This can be done at home or at a hospital.
- Tocolytic medications These aid in slowing or stopping contractions. They can be administered as a shot (injection) or injected into a vein (intravenously).
- Corticosteroids. These may aid in the development and maturation of your baby’s lungs. The lungs of premature neonates may not be able to function on their own.
- Cervical cerclage. This treatment is done to close the cervix. When the cervix is weak and unable to shut, this procedure may be used.
- Antibiotics. These are employed in the treatment of infection.
- The baby is born. If treatments do not halt preterm labor or if you or your baby is in danger, your physician will deliver your baby. You may require a cesarean section.
You may not be able to prevent preterm labor, but there are many things you can do to ensure a healthy, full-term pregnancy. As an example:
- Seek routine prenatal care. Prenatal checkups can assist your doctor in monitoring your and your baby’s health. Mention any indications or symptoms that cause you worry. If you have a history of preterm labor or develop preterm labor signs or symptoms, you may need to visit your doctor more frequently during your pregnancy.
- Maintain a nutritious diet. Good diet is often related with healthy pregnancy outcomes. Furthermore, some evidence indicates that a diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is linked to a decreased risk of preterm delivery. Nuts, seeds, fish, and seed oils all contain PUFAs.
- Avoid dangerous chemicals. Quit smoking if you smoke. Inquire with your doctor about a smoking cessation program. Illicit substances are also prohibited.
- Consider spacing your pregnancies. Some evidence reveals a relationship between preterm delivery and pregnancies spaced less than six months apart or more than 59 months apart. Consider speaking with your doctor about pregnancy spacing.
- When utilizing assisted reproductive technologies, use caution (ART). Consider how many embryos will be transplanted if you intend to utilize ART to become pregnant. Preterm labor is more likely in multiple pregnancies.
- Control chronic conditions. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity all raise the likelihood of premature delivery. Work with your doctor to keep any chronic problems under control.
If your doctor finds that you are at an elevated risk of preterm labor, he or she may advise you to take additional precautions.