“Feeling fat lasts nine months, but the joy of becoming a mom lasts forever.” quoted by Nikki Dalton, portrays the overwhelming yet beautiful experience of pregnancy. Pregnancy can be exciting and still stress you out every day. Being nauseous, exhausted, and all the fatigue surely compensated for listening to your baby’s first cry.
Gestation, in biological reference, is the time from carrying an embryo, its development, and giving birth to a baby. On average, the gestation period for humans is 40 weeks (or 280 days.) The day of the last period starts the day of pregnancy (adding two extra weeks before ovulation.)
Importance of 40 weeks in pregnancy
The survival of premature babies can be a tough fight. The advancements and development in neonatal care have increased the survival of premature babies. A lot of medical facilities are able to save babies who are born at 22 weeks. A lot of medical conditions can be held responsible for premature births. But, in recent times, mothers and doctors were aligning the due dates according to what would fit their schedules.
Scheduling delivery has been considered to be more convenient rather than waiting for the biological induction of it. Induced labor was earlier considered to be safe. This is because the medical practitioners earlier believed that delivery of babies by 37 or 38 weeks was normal. But recent studies claim that the last few weeks of pregnancy, too, are crucial for the development of babies. Major organs, like the lungs, brain, and liver, continue to develop in the last weeks of pregnancy. Any interference can lead to increased risks of medical complications for the baby.
Dangers of premature births
Premature birth can make young ones vulnerable to a variety of complications and disabilities. Some of the most prominent complications involved with this type of birth are cerebral palsy, disorders from the spectrum of autism, epilepsy, cognitive impairment, anxiety, asthma, etc. Birth of a baby before the due date masks a lot of troubles for the baby. An underdeveloped brain can make them susceptible to disorders of neurology.
Babies born by premature birth may have difficulties in the homeostasis of temperature and breathing. Breathing can be difficult for babies because of underdeveloped lungs. The babies also struggle with swallowing and sucking.
Premature birth also makes a baby vulnerable to some life-threatening infections. These types of births can also impact the vision, hearing, and behavior of the baby. Well, not all premature births have to face medical complications. But the earlier the child is born, the ea
Causes of premature births
Premature births can be the only solution left in many medical conditions. Intrauterine growth restriction can be one of the reasons why you might have to opt for a premature birth of your baby. Earlier breakage of your membranes, too, can lead to premature birth. A history of previous premature births can also increase the risks. Pregnancy with twins or multiples can also be one of the possible reasons for premature births.
Multiple miscarriages or abortions are too known to be a risk factor for premature births. While some of the medical reasons for the same include diabetes, high blood pressure, infections, complications based on the reproductive system, or physical injury. An inefficient gap between consecutive pregnancies too can result in premature births. Consumption of tobacco, alcohol, or drugs during pregnancy not only can increase the chances of premature birth but also be harmful to the kid.
8 Effective Tips To Prevent Premature Birth
As we already discussed how premature births could be harmful to the baby, let us talk about 8 Preventive Tips for Premature Birth.
1. Leading a healthy lifestyle
We do not fail to focus on how important a healthy lifestyle is. And again, we’ll talk about how a healthy lifestyle can be beneficial. Living a healthy lifestyle can be directly linked with overall well-being. A healthy diet can control risk factors like diabetes, blood pressure, and stress to certain levels, which can be a preventive measure for premature birth.
2. Progesterone supplements
Progesterone is a naturally found hormone found in our body. This hormone can be used as a preventive measure for premature deliveries. The reason for this is that the hormone prevents the contractions of the uterus and can prevent a mother from going into premature labor. The progesterone supplements can be started from 16 to 20 weeks of gestation.
They are effective in reducing the risks of premature birth. The intake of progesterone supplements should be done under the supervision of an expert. The two risk factors progesterone works on are short cervix and premature birth. Hence, it can be an effective measure for premature birth.
3. Cervical cerclage
Cervical cerclage is a surgical way to prevent premature births. This procedure is performed in mothers with incompetent, damaged, or abnormally shaped cervix. This medical procedure is suggested for mothers that have high risks of premature delivery.
The procedure follows stitching the cervix to prevent premature birth. The cerclage will be removed during the 37th week of your pregnancy. This is generally a safer procedure, but the potential risks will be discussed by your healthcare provider.
4. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drugs
Any of the listed substances cause harm to the mother’s body and the baby. One of the possible health hazards for pregnant ladies can be premature labor. Consumption of these substances has been associated with premature deliveries.
Studies have linked shorter gestation periods in alcoholics, which can increase the risks of preterm births. Smoking has been associated with early rupture of maternal membranes resulting in premature births.
5. Monitoring health problems
Two major reasons for premature births are diabetes and high blood pressure. These medical conditions increase the risks of premature births; hence by monitoring the conditions, you can prevent premature births. If you are suffering from obesity, it becomes essential to control your weight gain; else, it can lead to premature delivery.
6. A healthy & balanced diet
Resources support the association between the mother’s dietary plans and the health of the unborn child. A study conducted reported that a prudent diet in pregnancy was the most efficient and reduced the risks of premature births.
A prudent diet involves fruits, oils, vegetables, water (as a beverage), fiber-rich bread, poultry, and whole-grain cereals. In some cases, the undernutrition of the mother, too, can be a trigger for premature births.
7. Healthy weight management
Maternal weight management can be an important factor for both mother and the unborn baby. Being overweight and obese can increase the risks of premature or preterm births. Even though it is not yet known clearly how obesity can lead to premature birth, it still remains a risk factor.
Underweight mothers, too are at risk of premature births. If you are obese, you are advised to control your weight, while if you are underweight, you should try to gain weight.
Exercising can be an effortless way to reduce the risks of premature births. In some medical conditions, you are supervised to not exercise as it might escalate the complications. But, if you are having a normal pregnancy, exercising can be your best friend. In an uncomplicated pregnancy, exercises are claimed to have constructive results. It can be a preventive measure for premature birth.
During pregnancy, it becomes the key point to take care of your baby and yourself. It is important for a lady to be a happy and healthy mother for a healthy delivery. Pregnancy can be a stressful event. Hence it is important that you control your stress levels. Avoid overuse or unnecessary consumption of medications that are prescribed to you.
If you are at high risk for preterm delivery, you should opt for prenatal care in the early period of your pregnancy. You can opt for prenatal sessions that are provided. If you see any signs of preterm labor, you should immediately contact your midwife or doctor.
When to not opt for premature birth?
Pregnancy can make you feel insecure, and it is not wrong to be insecure. The emotional roller coaster only adds up to you being more vulnerable during pregnancy. But don’t worry! We got your back. Body image is another aspect you might be worried about in your pregnancy. The last few weeks will never be easy.
But premature birth is not the option you should be looking for. If weight gain is your concern or you feel the baby is growing too big, this should be the reason why you opt for premature birth. If you want your baby to have a specific birth date, should you really be willing to give premature birth? We’ll suggest you should not. If there is any serious medical issue, only then should premature birth be a choice for you.
Wrapping It Up
Infant mortality can be caused by different factors. The different reasons can include poor sanitation, inefficient postnatal care of the mother & the baby, undernourishment of both the mother & the baby, and some medical complications. Premature births still are counted as one of the leading causes of preterm delivery. To your relief, the recent advancements have been efficient in dropping the infant mortality rate.