What you should know about preterm labor, its signs and how to stop it

By: David shane

What is meant by preterm labor?

Preterm labor refers to uterine contractions of adequate intensity which cause progressive cervix dilation much before the 37th gestation week. More than half of pre term births are preceded by preterm labor. If the symptoms of preterm labor are recognized early enough to stop it pre mature births can make way to full term births.

What causes preterm labor?

There is no single specific reason which can be held responsible for preterm labor. Most healthy women should manage to have full term babies, however its uncertainty cannot be ruled out. There are several factors which lead to preterm labor and some of them include:

Social causes of preterm labor:

Extreme levels of stress
Domestic violence and abuse
Smoking and intake of alcohol during pregnancy
Use of illegal drugs during pregnancy such as cocaine, ecstasy, etc.
Prolonged periods of standing

Medical causes leading to preterm labor:

Development of urinary infections or sexually transmitted diseases
Birth defects or abnormalities of the baby
Single fetus pregnancy as a result of IVF
Presence of pre eclampsia
High blood pressure levels
Severe anaemia and diabetes
History of surgery of cervix prior to pregnancy
Previous miscarriage, abortion or premature birth
Early breakage of the placenta
Expecting twins, triplets or more

What are the signs of preterm labor?

It is very important for pregnant women to be aware of the signs of preterm labor so that they can reach out for help and avoid the complexities of premature birth. Though preterm labor is not very painful it has several distinctive symptoms which serve as warning signs. Some of them are as follows:

Discharge of blood (bright red) from the vagina
Severe pain while urinating, an indicator of a possible infection
Excessive vaginal discharge
Slight pain in the lower back in intervals which is not relieved with comfort measures
Extreme pelvic pressure, feeling as if the baby is pushing downwards inside
Diarrhea accompanied with abdominal cramps like the one you experience during menstruation
Decline in the usual fetal movements like the kick and pull
Presence of nausea and vomiting

What should you do upon developing signs of preterm labor?

As soon as you spot signs of a preterm labor, no matter what hour it is you should be right away calling your doctor to fix an appointment to see him immediately. You may have to be rushed to the hospital for assessment.

In the hospital you will be put on IV fluids to keep you sufficiently hydrated. This is done to increase the volume of blood which is necessary to suppress the oxytocin hormone which is responsible for the contractions.
You must take complete bed rest for the next few hours along with recommended medications to prevent premature birth.
In case of early rupture of placenta medications will be injected to prevent infections
An ultrasound of the baby is done to evaluate the status of the baby.

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