- by Motherhood Hospital
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- Feb 14 2017
Premature Labor and Birth
Going into preterm labor does not mean you’ll have a premature baby. Up to half of the women who experience preterm labor eventually deliver at 37 weeks or later.
If you or your baby have a complication and are not doing well, the medical team might decide to induce labor early or perform a cesarean section before 37 weeks.
Signs and symptoms of preterm labor
- Blood or other fluid leaking from your vagina (call your doctor right away if you have this symptom)
- Menstrual-like cramps, which may come and go
- Low, dull backache
- Pelvic pressure (may feel like the baby is pushing down)
- Change in vaginal discharge
- Abdominal cramps (with or without diarrhea
- Uterine contractions (coming every ten minutes or more often)
Premature Babies- Are they healthy?
Preterm birth can cause serious health problems or even be fatal for a baby, particularly if it happens very early.Some preterm babies may have problems breathing & are more prone to infection and jaundice and may have difficulty feeding as well as trouble maintaining their body temperature.
Every family hopes that their baby be born healthy and normal, but should your baby need specialized care, our team of expert neonatologists and neonatal nursing staff will provide it. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Motherhood is a level III unit. We offer the most advanced care for premature and critically ill newborns.
Premature labour is also called preterm labour. It’s when your body starts getting ready for birth too early in your pregnancy. Labour is premature if it starts more than three weeks before your due date.
Premature labor can lead to an early birth. But the good news is that doctors can do a lot to delay an early delivery. The longer your baby gets to grow inside you — right up to your due date — the less likely he or she is to have problems after birth.
What Increases Your Risk?
Lots of different things can increase your risk of premature labor. Some of them are:
- Being very overweight or underweight before pregnancy
- Not getting good prenatal care
- Drinking alcohol during pregnancy
- Having health conditions, such as high blood pressure, preeclampsia, diabetes, blood clotting disorders, or infections
- Being pregnant with a baby that has certain birth defects
- Being pregnant with a baby from in vitro fertilization
- Being pregnant with twins or other multiples
- A family or personal history of premature labor
- Getting pregnant too soon after having a baby
What does premature birth mean?
Once you reach 37 completed weeks of pregnancy, your baby is what’s called “term”. Your baby will be premature if he arrives before you’re 37 weeks pregnant. Most premature babies arrive after 32 weeks and have a good chance of surviving and growing up to be healthy.
Intensive care for extremely early babies has improved dramatically, and survival rates are much better than they used to be. However, there can sometimes be long-lasting effects for babies arriving very early, including cerebral palsy and learning difficulties.
Most babies who are relatively early, at around 34 weeks to 36 weeks, thrive and do well. However, they can be at greater risk of long-term developmental problems when compared with babies born at term.
Generally, the further on in your pregnancy you are, the more likely it is that your baby will do well. His organs will be more mature, his lungs better prepared for breathing, and he’ll have more strength for sucking and feeding.
Why does premature birth happen?
The majority of premature births happen when labour starts by itself, without the waters breaking. However, about a quarter of premature births are planned early inductions or caesareans, performed because of complications affecting either the mum or the baby.
Premature birth is much more common among pregnancies with more than one baby, where the risk is as high as one in two. In single pregnancies though, it’s very common for there to be no explanation as to why a baby has arrived early.
What will happen when my baby is born?
If your baby is born:
- Extremely early (27 weeks or earlier), he will need to be cared for in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). He’ll need to be kept very warm as he’ll have a high risk of hypothermia, and will need dextrose to prevent low blood sugar. He will also be at risk of low blood pressure and infection, and will need help with his breathing.
- Very early (28 weeks to 31 weeks), he is likely to be cared for in a special care baby unit (SCBU) or local neonatal unit (LNU). He will be stronger than younger babies but still at risk of hypothermia, low blood sugar and infection. He may need more specialised care at an NICU.
- Moderately early (32 weeks to 33 weeks), he may have problems with breathing, feeding and infection which require specialised care. He may be able to stay with you on a transitional care ward, or be taken straight to an LNU or SCBU.
- Early (34 weeks to 36 weeks), he may not need any treatment. He may look small but still be able to go straight to the postnatal ward with you. Or he may be admitted with you to a transitional care ward. It will depend on how well he’s feeding, and whether he has problems with blood sugar levels, blood pressure or infection.
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