Avoidable Factors That Can Lead to a Premature Delivery
Normal pregnancies often occur within 37-40 weeks. A delivery before this duration is often a premature delivery. Premature labor is often signaled by multiple and frequent uterine contractions within the span of one hour, constant abdominal cramps, backaches especially when felt below the waistline, and vaginal discharge of fluid. Research shows that about 12% of pregnancies result in premature labor.
Although, science and medicine have worked together to produce high-end technologies that can address the problems with premature labor, the consequences of premature deliveries are still evident. Babies born prematurely are susceptible to diseases and can be born with birth defects because they were not able to acquire the adequate amount of nutrition from the mother’s womb.
There are certain risk factors that could lead to premature deliveries such as medical risk factors which include infections in the kidney, vagina, urinary tract, and bladder, high blood pressure, diabetes, weight problems, sexually transmitted diseases, and thrombophilia or blood clot disorder. Women who have given birth prematurely in their last pregnancy are also at risk for premature labor. Abnormalities with the cervix and uterus also make some women vulnerable to premature deliveries.
Apart from those already mentioned, a lot of premature deliveries have to do with one’s lifestyle choices. Dangerous lifestyles involving smoking, the intake of illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and hallucinogens such as PCP and LSD, and addiction with alcohol are very detrimental to the health of a pregnant woman most especially to the baby.
For as long as the baby is within the mother’s womb, it depends upon the mother’s body as its primary source of nutrients and vitamins. Since this is so, it follows that whatever the mom takes in is taken in by the baby as well. Hence, toxic fumes and substances such as carbon monoxide and nicotine from cigarette smoking, teratogen from alcohol, and hazardous chemicals from illegal drugs are also taken in by the baby. These substances are able to permeate the placenta and reach the baby. Moreover, smoking has been known to produce about 14 percent of premature deliveries while alcoholism has been associated with high chances of FASD or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (birth defects) and exposure to illegal substances are linked with birth defects, placental abruptions, and miscarriages in pregnant women.
About 15 percent of women experience anxiety and depression during their pregnancy. First-time mothers with unplanned pregnancies become concerned about their bodies and develop eating disorders such as anorexia (characterized by an overly strict diet and / or over exercise) and bulimia ( characterized by binging, purging, or/and the intake of laxatives). Women with eating disorders are prone to infections and will not be able to provide the adequate amount of nutrients that the baby needs.
To ensure a safe and timely delivery and consequently a healthy baby, make sure to address medical, health, lifestyle, and behavioral issues accordingly. Moreover, always remember that you are not alone in this pregnancy. If depressed, seek counsel from a family member or a psychiatrist. They will be there to help you get through the hardships of pregnancy and labor.