Having a premature baby can be a stressful and worrying experience for any parent. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of preterm birth. Quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol and illicit drugs, eating a balanced diet, and taking progesterone are all ways to reduce the risk of preterm birth. Cervical cerclage and tocolytics may also be recommended in certain cases.
Additionally, being physically active during pregnancy and taking care of your oral health can help reduce the risk of preterm birth.Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for preterm birth. The more you smoke, the more likely you are to have a baby prematurely. Quitting smoking is one of the most positive steps you can take to reduce the risk of your baby being born prematurely. If you are unable to quit smoking, try to reduce your intake as much as possible.Alcohol and illicit drugs should also be avoided while trying to get pregnant and during pregnancy.
Misuse of prescription medications should also be avoided. Eating a balanced diet with foods that contain iron and folic acid may also help reduce the risk of preterm birth.Progesterone is a hormone produced by the body during pregnancy that was thought to prevent
preterm birthin certain groups at high risk of preterm delivery, such as those who had had a previous preterm birth. The NICHD Network of Maternal and Fetal Medicine Units found that progesterone given to women at risk of giving birth prematurely due to a previous preterm birth reduces the chances of a subsequent premature birth by a third, when it begins at 16 weeks of gestation and continues until 37 weeks of gestation.Cervical cerclage may be recommended if you are less than 24 weeks pregnant, if you have a history of preterm delivery, and if an ultrasound shows that the cervix is opening or if the length of the cervix is less than 25 millimeters. Tocolytics can be used for 48 hours to delay
preterm birthand allow corticosteroids to provide maximum benefit or, if needed, to be transferred to a hospital that can provide specialized care for your premature baby.Being physically active during pregnancy will improve your overall well-being and reduce your risk of diseases such as diabetes and preeclampsia, which can cause premature birth.
Taking care of your oral health is also important; recent research suggests that gum inflammation and infection may be associated with preterm birth.Finally, medications can affect your judgment and cause you to make lifestyle choices that may increase your risk of preterm birth. Therefore, it is important to talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking while pregnant.