The cause of preterm labor is unclear. Some experts say that there are factors that could play a role in triggering your uterus to begin contracting early and your cervix to dilate before the baby is ready to come out.
4 Making a Diagnosis
To help diagnose preterm labor, your health care provider will document your signs and symptoms.
Contact your doctor if you are experiencing the symptoms of preterm labor as you might need special care as soon as possible.
Ask your doctor if there are any restrictions that you need to do before the appointment. Ask a family member or a close friend to accompany you in the appointment.
Some of the questions that you can ask your doctor include
Am I in labor?
What can I do to help prolong my pregnancy?
Are there any treatments that you are going to give me?
The cervix will be stitched to close it with strong sutures and this sutures will be removed when the baby is considered full term or during the 37th week of pregnancy.
Early premature birth is when your cervical length is less than 25 millimeters and if you are less than 24 weeks pregnant, you will need cervical cerclage.
If you're before week 34 of your pregnancy and in active preterm labor, your doctor might recommend hospitalization.
There are medications such as pain relievers and others such as:
corticosteroids – steroid injection if you are between 24 and 34 weeks pregnant, but after week 34 your baby’s lungs may be mature enough for delivery,
magnesium sulfate – there are research that says this may reduce the risk of cerebral palsy for babies born between 32 weeks of gestation,
tocolytics – this is a medication that will stop your contractions but not longer than 2 days because this medication is not for the underlying cause of the preterm labor. You can talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of using a tocolytic and if you have certain conditions such as pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, your doctor will not approved the use of tocolytic. You may need more visits to the hospital for follow-ups.
You might not be able to prevent preterm labor, but there are things you can do to promote a full term pregnancy such as:
Seek regular prenatal care
Always go to your doctor for regular check-ups especially if you have signs and symptoms that are bothering you, your doctor mat even recommend tests and exams;
Eat a healthy diet
You will need more calcium, folic acid, iron and other essential nutrients including vitamins during pregnancy;
Consider pregnancy spacing
You are at risk of premature birth if your pregnancies spaced lee than six months apart, ask your doctor about pregnancy spacing;
Avoid risky substances
Quit smoking and avoid illicit drugs for these may increase your risk of preterm labor. If you are going to drink over-the-counter medicines, consult your doctor first;
Be cautious when using assisted reproductive technology (ART)
Ask your doctor how many embryos will be implanted because multiple pregnancies will have high risk of preterm labor. Your doctor will suggest taking additional steps to reduce your risk such as: taking preventive medications – hormone progesterone called hydroxyprogesterone caproate (Makena) is a weekly shot that will be given to you by your doctor if you have a history of premature birth. There is new research that uses a vaginal progesterone gel during the second and third trimesters might decrease the risk of premature birth in women who have short cervixes;
Limiting certain physical activities
Your doctor will recommend that you stay indoors as much as possible to avoid too much time on your feet, avoid lifting heavy objects and to have enough rest;
Managing chronic conditions
High blood pressure and diabetes need to be under control to avoid preterm labor. You should know the early warning signs and symptoms of preterm labor.
7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies
One of the homeopathic remedy for preterm labor is Caulophyllum.
Ask your doctor about this before taking it.
8 Lifestyle and Coping
Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with preterm labor.
You can try resting, walking or changing your position if you are having contractions that you suspect that it is a symptom of preterm labor.
Preterm labors will have continuous contractions but this condition is common to pregnant women, it does not mean that your cervix will begin to open.
You might need to drink lots of fluids and have enough rest to ease your stress about your condition and because during these days you might feel anxious or scared especially if you have a history of preterm labor or premature birth.
You can also ask your doctor on ways how to stay calm and relax such as breathing exercises or listening to music or other techniques which can help you reduce anxiety.
9 Risks and Complications
Some of the possible risk factors of preterm labor include:
pregnancy with twins, triplets or other multiples,
smoking cigarettes or using illicit drugs,
previous preterm labor or premature birth, particularly in the most recent pregnancy or in more than one previous pregnancy,
some chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes,
certain problems with the uterus, cervix or placenta,
certain infections, particularly of the genital tract,
stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one,
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