What Causes Premature Labor and Delivery?

Premature labor and delivery is a condition that can occur for a variety of reasons. Most preterm births occur spontaneously, but some are due to medical reasons, such as infections or other pregnancy complications that require early labor induction or delivery by cesarean section. We still have a lot to learn about preterm birth, so it's not always possible to explain the causes and why it happens. There are several risk factors that can increase the likelihood of premature labor and delivery.

Problems with the uterus or placenta, smoking cigarettes or using illicit drugs, certain infections, and chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and depression can all contribute to preterm birth. Low placenta or placenta praevia (when the placenta covers the cervix) can also increase the risk of premature labor and delivery. Women who are not in the healthy weight range (overweight or underweight) when they become pregnant are more likely to have a premature birth. If you become pregnant before age 18 or after age 40, there is a greater risk of preterm birth.

If you had a late miscarriage before that date, you have a higher chance of having a late miscarriage or premature birth in your next pregnancy. Some risk factors are things that can't be changed, such as having a premature birth in a previous pregnancy. Bleeding after the first trimester can be a sign that there is a problem with the placenta, such as a low placenta or a detachment of the placenta, which can cause premature birth.There's clear evidence that your lifestyle can affect your pregnancy, so there are things you can do to try to limit the risk of

premature labor

and delivery. Some of the treatments available to delay preterm delivery, such as the progesterone pessary, the cervical suture, or the pessary arabine, are not routinely offered to women who are pregnant with several babies.

At the University of Utah Hospital's Prematurity Prevention Clinic, experts work to identify and address potential causes of preterm birth. Antiphospholipid syndrome is a blood disorder of the immune system that can cause complications during pregnancy, such as premature birth. Some studies have also shown that some women with gestational diabetes are at greater risk of having a spontaneous preterm birth.If you're pregnant and concerned about your risk of premature labor and delivery, talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk. Even if you don't have a preterm birth, you may be recommended to give birth before your due date to reduce the risk of complications.

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