Preterm birth: Warning signs that indicate complications during pregnancy
Preterm birth, defined as a baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, is a leading cause of infant death and can result in long-term disabilities for those who survive.
Preterm birth, defined as a baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, is a leading cause of infant death and can result in long-term disabilities for those who survive. Each year, approximately 1 million children die as a result of preterm birth complications. According to the World Health Organisation, many survivors will live with disabilities for the rest of their lives, including learning disabilities and vision and hearing problems. India is at the top of the list of countries with the most preterm births.
Reasons for complications
Preterm birth can occur due to a number of reasons. The majority of preterm births occur naturally. Multiple pregnancies, infections, placenta abruption (separation of the placenta from the uterus), less amniotic fluid and chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are all common causes of preterm birth; however, in many cases, no cause is identified. Sometimes, genetic factors are also responsible for preterm delivery.
Regular or frequent abdominal tightening (contractions), constant backache, a sensation of pelvic or lower abdominal pressure, and mild abdominal cramps are all signs of preterm labour. Vaginal spotting or light bleeding may occur in some cases, while others may notice a change in the type of vaginal discharge — watery, mucus-like, or bloody.
Placental abruption, high BP, and less amniotic fluid are major causes of preterm deliveries
Yes, all of these factors contribute to preterm birth. Women should avoid it by quitting smoking and abstaining from drugs. Blood pressure and diabetes should be kept at the optimum level. Women should also take health and safety precautions such as wearing a seat belt and notifying their doctor if they experience any abdominal trauma or vaginal bleeding.
How to avoid a preterm delivery?
During pregnancy, a woman should keep in touch with her doctor at all times. If she has any risk factors for preterm birth, such as having previously delivered a premature baby or having a problem with her uterus or cervix, she should tell the doctor right away. After consulting with their doctor, pregnant women can be advised some hormone supplementation or sometimes surgical procedure along with folic acid to prevent preterm birth. If you and your baby are both healthy, you should wait until at least 39 weeks to start labour on your own.
Factors to keep in mind if in case it's a preterm delivery
When compared to normal babies, premature babies require more medical attention. The cause of preterm delivery and how early the baby was delivered determine the level of care. Preterm babies may have birth-related issues that necessitate specialised medical attention. They usually have breathing problems, low immunity, and are prone to infections, viral infections, and jaundice. They may have serious health issues such as sepsis, brain haemorrhage, or other conditions that necessitate special attention. Premature birth has a significant impact on a mother's health, and she too requires specialised care. Her anxiety and stress levels may be clouding her judgement and affecting how she cares for the baby. Hence, both the mother and child should be kept under observation for a few days.
Tips for a safe & healthy pregnancy
It is critical to live a healthy lifestyle in order to have a safe and healthy pregnancy. Tobacco, smoking, e-cigarettes, and secondhand smoke should all be avoided. Don't drink alcohol while trying to conceive or while pregnant. Avoid using illegal drugs and abusing prescription medications. Consume a well-balanced diet rich in iron and folic acid. Make an effort to be active every day: aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. Blood pressure and diabetes should be controlled. To avoid becoming obese, lose weight; if you are underweight, gain weight. Reduce stress by practicing yoga, meditation, being active, joining support groups, balancing work and life, and working on a healthy relationship with your partner free of violence.