Risk Factors Of Preterm Birth And The Signs of Preterm Labor
Airfare Daily Deals eCigarettes Eyeglasses Hotels Jewelry Online Backup Online Dating Online Printing Online Tickets Skin Care Textbook Rentals Vitamins Web Hosting Weddings
Find thousands of shopping-related forums

Risk Factors Of Preterm Birth And The Signs of Preterm Labor

Preterm birth is when a pregnancy ends before 37 weeks of gestation. A pregnancy is supposed to last 40 weeks. A baby born a few weeks before that time can still be considered full term. Babies born preterm are called preemies.

Preterm birth is when a pregnancy ends before 37 weeks of gestation.  A pregnancy is supposed to last 40 weeks. A baby born a few weeks before that time can still be considered full term.  Babies born preterm are premature and are called preemies.  They often have problems after birth and are subject to illness and death.  They can have difficulty with their breathing and nervous system.  Sometimes preemies will experience problems with their eyes and ears.  Preterm birth can also cause children to have learning disabilities or behavior problems.


Often a preterm delivery can be prevented.  Other times, a baby has to be delivered because it has IUGR, or intrauterine growth restriction. This is when the baby is not getting enough nourishment from the placenta.  In the  case of IUGR, the infant has a better chance of surviving outside of the womb.  Preventing preterm delivery includes eating healthy foods and not skipping meals.  Here are a list of other preterm birth risk factors.

Risk Factors

1. Previous preterm delivery

2. No prenatal care

3. Smoking and drug use

4. Vaginal bleeding, especially for more than one trimester

5. More than one fetus in the womb

6. Too much fluid around the fetus

7. Abnormal uterus or placenta

8. Infection

Prenatal care is extremely important, as well as taking prenatal vitamins.  If a mother has previously had a preterm delivery, she should let the doctor know immediately.  The doctor can monitor the pregnancy and can help the mother to decrease the risk of a preterm birth.  If a mother has a history of preterm delivery and is not carrying more than one fetus, there is a medication that can be given.  The medication is called 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone, or 17P.  The medication is given by injection each week from 20 weeks gestation to 36 weeks gestation.  This medication has been instrumental in preventing preterm labor and delivery.

Signs of Preterm Labor

Knowing the signs of preterm labor can often postpone the early entrance of a baby into the world.  Babies have a better chance of thriving and surviving for each additional day spent in the womb. There are some signs of preterm labor.  It is important for a mother to seek help whenever she experiences these signs.

1. Vaginal discharge of blood, water or mucus

2. Pressure in the pelvic region or lower abdominal area

3. Low backache that will not go away

4. Cramping in the abdominal area for more than six times an hour

In spite of medical advancements in the prevention of preterm labor and delivery, the incidence of preterm birth still continues to rise.  Preterm birth is still the main reason for illness and death in infants worldwide.

Image credit: Fotosearch

Need an answer?
Get insightful answers from community-recommended
in Pediatrics & Child Health on Knoji.
Would you recommend this author as an expert in Pediatrics & Child Health?
You have 0 recommendations remaining to grant today.
Comments (12)

Great article with important information. I know women who've taken 17P and had healthy babies.

Such a valuable article and presented so full of educational information. Voted up.

interesting article, helpful to the soon to be moms

Thanks for this informative article. Well done. Voted up.

You have written an outstanding article here.

Interesting and informative write-up.thanks for posting

important and useful information for those expecting a baby. voted up!

Definitely something you'd want to be aware of if you were expecting.... great article.

Very valuable information, especially considering preterm births are still on the rise. As you mention, even with all of the medical advancements in our era, this is still a concern. I hope this article reaches those who could benefit.

Very good article. All three of my kids were early, The first two just two and three weeks early, but my youngest was nearly 6 weeks early, He spent the first week and a half of his life in the ICU nursery.

Sweet! Good interesting and expert information. Voted up.

This is very valuable information