What Causes Premature Labor and How Can It Be Prevented?

Premature labor is a condition that occurs when a baby is born before the 37th week of pregnancy. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including 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. Low placenta or placenta praevia, where the placenta is less than 20 mm from the cervix or covers the cervix respectively, can also increase the risk of premature labor. Although the exact causes of preterm birth are still unknown, there are certain risk factors that can make it more likely to occur.

These include being underweight or overweight when pregnant, bleeding after the first trimester, antiphospholipid syndrome, and gestational diabetes. Women who become pregnant before age 18 or after age 40 are also at greater risk of having a premature birth.Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of premature labor. Your doctor can discuss the risk factors and precautions you should take. Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy can help to reduce the risk of preterm birth.

If you are pregnant with multiple babies, you may be recommended to give birth before your due date to reduce the risk of complications.

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