Causes of Preterm labour

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Dec 21, 2011

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In case of normal pregnancy that lasts for 40 weeks, uterine contractions start before the 37th week, however, labour may occur before the 37th week. If the contractions occur prior to the due date, it just means that the cervix opened much earlier. Early opening of the cervix suggests that the baby will be born premature and may be vulnerable to health problems.

Factors that lead to preterm labour are still not completely understood, however, some of the suggestive factors that cause babies to be born before time include:


Experts opine that about 40 to 50 percent incidences of preterm labour occur due to some form of infection. When a pregnant woman develops an infection, she is more likely to show some symptoms, though some women don’t show classic signs of infection. As a result, the infection grows without the woman’s awareness and can lead to preterm labour.

The most common infection that leads to preterm birth is intrauterine infection. To avoid this infection, you must undergo all the routine tests during pregnancy.


Another cause of preterm labour is bleeding. Other causes of bleeding during pregnancy include:

·     Placental abruption wherein the placenta tears away from the uterine wall.

·     Genetical bleeding disorder.

·     Acquired bleeding disorder.

Irrespective of the kind and intensity of bleeding, it should be immediately reported to your doctor.

Over distension of Uterus

Over distension or stretching of the uterus is also considered to be one of the causes of preterm labour. The possibility of stretched uterus increases in women with:

·     Fibroids.

·     Multiple pregnancies.

·     In pregnancies with excessive amniotic fluid.

Factors that increases the Risk of Preterm Labour

·     Poor nutrition.

·     Premature birth in previous pregnancy.

·     Twins, triplets and other multiple pregnancies.

·     Less than six months duration between the two pregnancies.

·     Vitro fertilization.

·     Smoking, alcohol consumption or drugs abuse.

·     Intrauterine infection.

·     Underweight or overweight of expectant mother.

·     Multiple miscarriages or abortions.

·     Extreme stressful situations.

·     Physical or emotional trauma.

Many researches are being carried out to know the exact cause of preterm labour. Until the accurate results are out, the key to be safe is to identify the signs of preterm labour as soon as possible and take necessary steps quickly.

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