Premature births can be caused by a variety of factors, including infections and poor lifestyle choices. It is important to understand what causes premature births in order to prevent them from happening.
Premature Birth continues to be a leading cause of death and nervous system disorders in infants around the world. There are many factors that can increase the risk of premature birth. This risk can be reduced with proper pregnancy preparation and care.
If a woman is pregnant and gives birth after 37 weeks of gestation, it is called premature labor. Premature births can be caused by several factors, including:
Premature birth is most commonly caused by infection of the genitals or urinary tract. But, infection outside of these areas can still pose a life-threatening threat to the baby.
Preterm labor can be dangerous because of infection in the fetus.
These infections can lead to premature births:
- Rubella infection
- Herpes simpleks
- Vaginal bacterial infection
- Amniotic membrane infection
- Urinary tract infection
- Group B Streptococcal Disease (GBS).
Babies born preterm from infection should be treated immediately.
2. Certain diseases
Preterm labor is more likely for women with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and kidney problems.
Premature birth can also occur due to several other conditions, such as:
- Placental abruption is a condition in which the placenta is separated from the uterine wall prior to the baby's birth, causing bleeding and obstructing oxygen and nutrients for the baby.
- Cervical incompetence is a condition where the cervix is so weak that it can open at will before a full-term birth.
- Appendicitis can lead to abdominal surgery, such as operations on the abdomen during pregnancy.
3. Unhealthy lifestyle
These are some examples of unhealthy lifestyles which can lead to premature birth:
- Smoking while pregnant
- Pregnancy: Consuming alcohol and illicit drugs
- Inadequate nutrition intake before and during pregnancy can lead to overweight or suboptimal weight.
4. Other causes
Premature delivery is more likely in certain conditions, such as:
- Pregnant twins
- Pregnant who is less than six months away from her previous pregnancy
- IVF for pregnancy
- Multiple miscarriages or abortions
- Preterm labor
- Pregnancy: Trauma, violence, or injury
- Experiencing severe stress
- Pregnant women under 17 years old or older than 35 years
Premature labor is possible for anyone, regardless of the causes. Some pregnant women may give birth to their babies prematurely, even though they don't have any known risk factors.
However, don't worry. You can reduce the risk of premature birth by regularly undergoing prenatal screenings and living a healthy lifestyle. To check your health and prepare for pregnancy, have a consultation with your doctor if you're still considering a pregnancy.
From the time you become pregnant, it is important to check in with your doctor every day. If you experience symptoms that aren't normal, you should immediately consult a doctor, even if you haven’t yet scheduled a routine exam.