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Pre-Term Labour - Know The Complications Involved!

Dr. Puneeta Gupta 86% (10 ratings)
DNB (Obstetrics and Gynecology), DGO, MBBS
Gynaecologist, Ghaziabad  •  23 years experience
Pre-Term Labour - Know The Complications Involved!

A preterm labour is referred to a condition when the cervix opens up within 37 weeks of pregnancy. An ideal pregnancy lasts for a span of 40 weeks. If preterm labour is caused due to preterm contractions, the baby is born earlier. This results in serious health risks for the baby. At times it requires long intensive care for the baby to ensure no mental or physical damage happens in the long term.

What are the symptoms of pre-term labour?
While some women show evident signs of pre-term labour, some women present symptoms that are more subtle. Some unmistakable symptoms of pre-term labour include regular contractions, sense of tightness in the lower abdomen, vaginal discharge, diarrhoea, constant backache, bleeding from the vagina, watery discharge from the vagina, pain in the abdomen and abdominal cramps. One or more of these symptoms should be immediately reported to the doctor to negate the chances of any miscarriages or serious complications.

What are the risk factors?
While there are no proven risk factors of preterm labour, lots of factors have been tagged with a pre-term labour. Some of the notable ones include:

  1. Little pre-natal care
  2. Premature birth in previous pregnancies
  3. Giving birth to more than one baby at a time. This is especially applicable while giving birth to a triplet.
  4. A stressful event such as a personal loss or events related to extreme emotions
  5. Bleeding from the vagina during pregnancy
  6. Any infection of the genital tract
  7. Any complications related to the placenta, uterus and cervix
  8. Any birth defect related to the vagina
  9. Chronic health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  10. Putting on weight more than the recommended level
  11. An excess of amniotic fluid
  12. Consumption of illicit drugs or smoking at a heavy rate
  13. The shorter length of the cervix than the normal one

What are the complications involved?
Pre-term labour cannot be stopped with any medical procedures. If pre-term labour is caused due to smoking or an infection, the same can be addressed. Any pre-term labour that eventually leads to giving birth can confront with complications such as low weight, problems related to the vision of the baby, behavioural problems and learning disabilities.

Diagnosis and tests:
A doctor will closely monitor the symptoms a woman is facing. In the case of regular contraction, a close look at the cervix helps a doctor to decide the condition of a patient. To be assured a doctor might recommend a full pelvic exam, ultrasound test, uterine monitoring, and maturity of amniocentesis. A test of the vaginal secretion further gives the doctor enough evidence about the possibility of a pre-term labour. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.

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