Premature births occur when delivery happens too early, mostly before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Babies who are prematurely born have a higher risk of suffering from health problems such as low birth weight, hearing, dental, vision issues, and impaired learning. It is essential for a pregnant woman to take the utmost care of herself. The number of premature birth cases is increasing with time. There are certain factors that can lead to the occurrence of premature deliveries. OnlyMyHealth editorial team talked to Dr. Pooja Madhav, Gynaecologist & Obstetrician, Apollo Spectra Mumbai, to know about the risk factors and ways to prevent premature births.
Risk factors of premature delivery
Here are some of the causes behind premature birth that you should be aware of:
1. Opting for IVF: Conceiving through In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) can be one of the major causes of premature delivery.
2. Having back-to-back pregnancies: Without a recommended gap of at least six months, having back-to-back pregnancies can also lead to premature delivery.
3. Multiple pregnancies: Pregnancy with twins or triplets can also increase the risk of premature delivery.
4. Problems associated with the uterus, cervix, or placenta: Problems related to the uterus, cervix, or placenta should be managed at the right time or they can also lead to premature delivery.
5. Gestational diabetes and hypertension: Getting detected with gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension during pregnancy can also cause premature birth of the baby.
6. Weight gain or extreme weight loss during pregnancy: If a pregnant woman is obese or underweight then there can be chances of premature delivery.
7. Smoking: Pregnant women who smoke or use tobacco in any other form like hookah or pipe can also be at a risk of premature delivery. Exposure to air pollution, lead, radiation, and chemicals can also lead to premature delivery.
8. Alcohol and drugs: If you are a person who drinks alcohol, then also there are chances of you experiencing a premature delivery. Even taking recreational drugs should be avoided taking the baby’s health into consideration.
9. Stress: Stress can take a toll on one’s overall well-being. Stress can be harmful to both the mother and the baby. Stress due to professional and personal life can be a risk factor behind premature delivery.
10. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): Sexually transmitted infections involving the uterus, urinary tract, or vagina can also cause premature delivery.
How to prevent premature delivery?
To prevent premature delivery, stick to healthy lifestyle choices such as these:
- Eat a well-balanced diet inclusive of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, and legumes
- Give up on processed, oily, and canned foods
- Quit tobacco, recreational drugs, and alcohol to ensure a healthy pregnancy
- Make sure to exercise every day under the guidance of an expert
- Pregnant women should maintain an optimum weight, sleep well, and avoid any strenuous activities
- Join support groups and speak to other pregnant women
- Opt for relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation
- Try to seek prenatal care early in your pregnancy, particularly if you have any health problems
- Go for regular health check-ups and follow-ups during pregnancy without fail