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Pre-term Labour - Factors That Can Increase Your Risk!

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Aradhana Aggarwal 90% (57 ratings)
MS - Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Fellowship in Fetal Medicine
Gynaecologist, Amritsar  •  8 years experience
Pre-term Labour - Factors That Can Increase Your Risk!

Pre-term labour, also known as premature labour, is when the body starts getting ready for pregnancy earlier than it is supposed to. The labour starts more than three weeks before the due date is. It can lead to an early birth. However, nowadays, the doctors can do a lot to delay the birth and stop a premature birth from happening.

Here are a few things that can increase your risk of a premature labour:

  1. Smoking
  2. Being over or underweight
  3. Bad prenatal care
  4. Alcohol abuse or using drugs while pregnant
  5. Having bad health conditions like hypertension, diabetes
  6. Being pregnant with twins or multiple babies

The symptoms of a premature labour include:

  1. A backache, usually in the lower back.
  2. Contractions with ten-minute intervals
  3. Cramping in the lower abdomen like during periods
  4. Leaking of fluid from the vagina
  5. Feeling nauseous, diarrhoea and flu-like symptoms
  6. Increased vaginal discharge
  7. Extreme vaginal bleeding

There are a few ways with which you can check or make sure whether you will be having an early labour or not. These are:

  1. Put your fingers on your abdomen
  2. If you feel that your uterus is tightening and relaxing and then tightening again, it is likely that you might be having contractions. You should time your contractions. Write the timings down when each contraction starts.
  3. Stand up on your feet and change your positions. Try to relax and stop the contractions.
  4. Drink two to three glasses of water
  5. Call your doctor immediately if you continue having contractions every ten minutes.

Sometimes women have a harmless false labour. It is called the Braxton hicks contractions. However, these are not a part of the labour. In case you have been diagnosed with pre-term labour, you will need treatment. These usually include:

  1. IV fluids
  2. Medicines to stop the labour and relax the uterus
  3. Antibiotics
  4. Medicines to speed up the growth of the baby’s lungs
  5. Being admitted to the hospital

In case you are unable to stop your labour, the doctor will get ready to deliver the baby. The baby is then taken care of, outside in incubators and then released once it is fully grown and healthy. If a baby is premature and is born early, most of them do well as they keep growing old. However, they do have a higher risk of problems. These might include autism, cerebral palsy, lung problems, vision and hearing loss, and intellectual disabilities. The earlier a child is born; it is more likely that they will face health problems. Therefore, it is very important that the mother, as well as the child, is taken very good care of before and after a pre-term labour or birth. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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