Preterm birth is one of the biggest concerns of expectant mothers. Approximately 12% of pregnancies result in premature birth. It is also possible to prevent premature birth, also known as premature birth, by eliminating various risk factors. However, sometimes protective measures are not enough, and premature birth can be an inevitable end. The anxiety of expectant mothers on the subject stems from the fear of losing their babies. However, giving birth earlier than it should be does not necessarily mean that the baby will result in death.
What are Preterm Birth Symptoms?
The most important premature birth symptom is regular and frequent contractions and these contractions intensify over time. However, most women experience false contractions called Braxton-Hicks during pregnancy. This should not be confused with the contractions experienced before premature birth. Pseudo-contractions are not consistent and there is also no increase in frequency. However, it does not cause pain like prenatal contractions. Position change in prenatal contractions does not stop the contraction, but acting in false contractions may stop the contraction.
Frequent urination and an increase in vaginal discharge are also symptoms of preterm labor. This condition may be accompanied by a bleeding in the form of vaginal bleeding or spotting. The expectant mother feels serious pressure on her pelvis. Spasm every 10 minutes and headache are among these symptoms. Headache usually occurs at the back of the head and is permanent in some expectant mothers and temporary in others.
In the lower part of the abdomen, a cramp like the menstrual period is also on the list of early birth symptoms. Symptoms include increased vaginal discharge, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Considering all these symptoms, expectant mothers should consult with their doctor immediately if they suspect about premature birth. Especially, the frequency of contractions for 10 minutes or less, increasing in intensity is the most important symptom and you should contact your doctor without wasting time.
Who is at the Risk of Preterm Birth?
First of all, it is not possible to predict in which pregnancies premature birth will occur. However, this does not mean that there are no risk factors. We can list these risk factors as follows:
- · Having had a premature birth before
- · Having twins and triplets before
- · Working in heavy physical work that exhausts the body
- · A problem with the uterus, cervix or placenta
- · Smoking and drug use
- · Presence of fetal birth defects
- · Experiencing a situation that causes severe stress and distress
- · Some infections
- · Excessive amniotic fluid
- · Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy
- · Less than 6 months between pregnancies
- · Having some chronic illnesses
- · Presence of periodontal disease
Can Preterm Birth Be Prevented?
Although it is possible to eliminate preventable risk factors, premature birth may not always be prevented. It is recommended that you have check-ups before pregnancy in order to eliminate possible risk factors and have a healthier pregnancy period. Many women realize that they have a health problem related to the uterus during pregnancy controls, but this problem cannot always be eliminated by surgical intervention due to pregnancy. However, not interrupting routine controls before pregnancy ensures that these problems are intervened in the early period.
However, a regular and healthy diet is of great importance. Folic acid and calcium supplements are much more important than expected in order to consume the ideal amount of water every day, to have a healthy pregnancy and to reduce the risk of preterm birth. For this reason, risk factors must be well known to prevent preterm birth.
It is the wisest choice to eliminate preventable risk factors. When these risk symptoms appear, your doctor may ask you to use some medications. Using prescribed medications as directed and not disrupting them can also prevent premature births.
How Many Weeks Preterm Birth?
A normal pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. Delivery before the 37th week of pregnancy is considered premature birth. Of course, it is undesirable because premature births pose serious risks to babies' health. Premature babies are immediately taken to the neonatal care unit and need special attention.
How to Prevent Preterm Birth?
We have stated before that it is not always possible to prevent preterm birth. Some measures that expectant mothers can take may reduce the risk, but still premature birth may occur. For example, one of the most important factors causing preterm birth is vaginal infections. In fact, almost 50% of preterm births are caused by vaginal and uterine infections. You can eliminate this risk by taking precautions such as taking into account your doctor's recommendations and warnings and paying attention to hygiene conditions.
In addition, smoking and drug use is one of the causes of premature birth and it should be underlined that it is a preventable risk factor. Planning a pregnancy that will take longer than 6 months between two pregnancies is also important in order to prevent premature birth. Not putting too much strain on the body during pregnancy and checking dental health before pregnancy can also be considered in this category. Some gum diseases can also cause this problem.
What are Preterm Birth Losses?
Unfortunately, premature birth means life-threatening risk for babies. Of course, not every premature baby dies, but infant deaths due to premature birth are common. In addition, if the birth occurs earlier than it should be, it may cause some physical and mental problems in babies. In the newborn intensive care unit, all necessary treatments are applied to strengthen the development of the vital organs of babies. However, various diseases may occur due to internal organ development disorders.
How is it treated?
Let us state that the treatment is specially planned and applied according to the health status of the mothers, the health condition of the baby and the reasons of preterm birth. The same treatment procedure is not applied to every expectant mother. First of all, when preterm labor is suspected, some medications may be prescribed by your doctor.
If this risk cannot be eliminated with the use of medication, gynecologists and obstetricians prepare themselves for a high risk birth and all kinds of precautions are taken. However, sometimes, unfortunately, the birth can start in the 34th week of pregnancy, or some doubts may arise that it will begin. In this case, you may need to be treated in a clinical setting and your doctor may recommend hospitalization.
A much different treatment is applied if the pregnancy water comes. Especially if the cause of premature birth and pregnancy water is due to infection, then your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Corticosteroid use may be required between the 24th and 34th week of pregnancy to accelerate the lung development of the unborn baby.
However, it may be necessary to use some drugs in order to control the contractions and delay the birth. These are all common treatment protocols. Different treatments may be required depending on the condition of the mother and the baby. In such a case, it is important for the expectant mother to remain calm and strictly comply with her doctor's recommendations and warnings, in order to be able to apply the treatment smoothly.