Preterm birth is a serious health concern that can have long-term consequences for both mother and baby. While anyone can have a preterm birth, there are certain risk factors that can increase the likelihood of it occurring. These include a history of preterm birth, multiple pregnancy, smoking and substance abuse, and a short time (less than 18 months) between pregnancies. Black women are also more likely to experience preterm birth than women of other races.
In some cases, corticosteroids may be recommended between 24 and 34 weeks of pregnancy for women who are at risk of giving birth within 7 days. This includes those with broken membranes or more than one fetus. Additionally, studies have found that nulliparous mothers (those who have never given birth before) are 33% more likely to have a preterm birth than multiparous mothers (those who have given birth before). Other medical conditions can also increase the risk of preterm labor and delivery.
These include gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and infections such as chorioamnionitis. In addition, certain lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and poor nutrition can increase the risk of preterm birth. If you have a short cervix or a history of cervical shortening that caused premature birth, your doctor may recommend a procedure called cerclage. This is a surgical procedure that is performed during pregnancy to help prevent preterm labor and delivery.
If your hospital doesn't have the resources to care for premature babies, your doctor may recommend moving to another hospital with these resources. Finally, visiting the antenatal care (ANC) clinic in the second trimester was found to be associated with a lower risk of preterm births. Additionally, mothers who went to the ANC in the second trimester were 13% taller than those who came in the first trimester. To reduce the risk of preterm birth, it is important to be aware of the potential risk factors and take steps to reduce them where possible.
This includes quitting smoking and avoiding alcohol consumption during pregnancy, eating a healthy diet, and attending regular antenatal care appointments.