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Preterm Labor: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Dec 05, 2023

What is the treatment?

Preterm labor is also known as premature labor. This means that in pregnancy, the body gets ready for birth too early. A labor is referred to as premature in case it starts more than a couple of weeks before the due date. Hence, it ultimately leads to early birth. The good news is that there is a lot a doctor can do in order to delay the early birth. The risk factors leading to premature birth include smoking, being overweight or underweight, getting pregnant too soon after previous pregnancy, alcohol or street drug consumption, high blood pressure, blood clotting disorders, diabetes, preeclampsia, or infections. Symptoms of preterm labor include backache, contractions in every 10 minutes, increased pressure in the vagina, vaginal bleeding and many more.

The treatment of premature labor includes IV fluids, antibiotics, medicine to relax the uterus and stop labor, medicine to pace up the growth of your baby’s lungs and finally being admitted to the hospital. In case the labor has kept up and cannot be stopped, either the doctor or the midwife will make preparations to deliver the baby. Premature babies usually have a high risk of issues. Untimely infants develop more slowly in comparison with full-term born babies. Babies conceived after 7 months usually require a short stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the hospital as they need specialized care.

How is the treatment done?

In case of a few women, a surgical methodology called cervical cerclage can be beneficial to them who develop preterm labor due to a short cervix. Amid this method, the cervix is sewed closed with solid sutures. Most often, the sutures are removed amid week 36 of pregnancy. The sutures can also be removed early in case it’s necessary. If a patient is less than 24 weeks pregnant, has an ultrasound showing that the cervical length is less than 23 millimeters, or has premature birth history, she is considered suitable for cervical cerclage.

There are certain medications recommended by the doctor. These include corticosteroids, magnesium sulfate and tocolytics. In case a patient is between 24 or 24 weeks, she is recommended an injection containing potent steroids by a health care provider to speed up the baby’s lung maturity. Corticosteroids are started at week 23 of pregnancy, in case of risk of delivery within a week. Additionally, repeat dosages of corticosteroids are recommended to women who are less than 34 weeks pregnant, in association with the risk of delivering within a week and a prior dosage of corticosteroids carried on for 14 days previously. Tocolytics medications are given in order to temporarily stop contradictions.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Women who are experiencing the symptoms of premature labor before 32 weeks of gestation are eligible for the treatment. Also, women showing the signs of an infection or early water break are eligible.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

A woman who is allergic to antibiotics, not showing any signs of infection and having intact membranes is not eligible for the medications. Also, women with lethal fetal abnormalities and uterus infection are precluded from receiving the treatment.


Are there any side effects?

Side effects of the treatment include chest pain, irregular heartbeats, fluid in the lungs causing breathing trouble, low blood pressure, fever, headache, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, feeling dizzy and many more.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

After conceiving the baby, rest, avoid strenuous activity and drink plenty of fluids. Consult a health care provider regarding healthy ways to stay calm and relaxed after the labor. There are several techniques known to be proven beneficial as a post treatment method. For instance, imagining about serene and peaceful places with calm and soothing environment and pleasant experiences to keep lift your mood. Listening to music and doing breathing exercises are yet another ways to take care of oneself after childbirth. These methods also help reduce anxiety. A proper diet including fruits and green leafy vegetable cooked in olive oil will suit a woman after preterm labor.

How long does it take to recover?

It takes about 2 weeks to a month to recover from preterm labor.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price of the treatment ranges between Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 13,000.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results of the treatment are temporary as these symptoms will occur yet again after another childbirth experience.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Progesterone therapy is a kind of hormonal therapy which acts as a key role in case of pregnant women. For certain women, progesterone therapy may help prevent preterm labor. If you are unsure, talk to your doctor to see if this treatment method is right for you.

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Written ByDr. Jayashri S MBBS,MS - Obstetrics and GynaecologyGynaecology
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