When expecting a baby, the last thing you want to think about is the possibility of a premature birth. Unfortunately, there are certain risk factors that can increase the likelihood of a preterm delivery. These include having a preterm birth in the past, multiple pregnancies, smoking and substance abuse, and having a short time (less than 18 months) between pregnancies. Additionally, pregnancy complications can cause premature birth as the baby must be born early.
Although some of these risk factors can be reduced or eliminated, many of them are out of your control. For instance, if you have had a preterm birth in the past, you are more likely to have another one. Similarly, if you have a low birth weight baby, you are more likely to have a preterm delivery. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed antenatal care guidelines to help reduce the risk of preterm births.
These include advice on healthy eating and optimal nutrition, as well as avoiding tobacco and other substances. Additionally, fetal measurements should be taken throughout pregnancy, including an early ultrasound to determine gestational age and detect multiple pregnancies. Lastly, pregnant women should have at least 8 contacts with health professionals during pregnancy to identify and manage any risk factors such as infections.Although it is important to be aware of the risks of premature birth, it is also important to remember that not all pregnancies will result in a preterm delivery. By following the WHO guidelines and taking care of yourself during pregnancy, you can reduce your risk of having a premature baby.