Although she can’t wait to hold her baby in hers arms, no mum-to-be wants her baby to arrive earlier than planned. This article covers known causes of premature birth and offers tips on how to minimise the chances of it, a must read for all mums-to-be.
Pregnancy is a time of much joy and anticipation for a woman. It is also a time of caution and for first time mums there is also a fear of the unknown.
As a mum-to-be, you take utmost care – of yourself and your unborn baby. You eat healthy, you exercise in moderation, you go for antenatal classes and you remind yourself not to take on unnecessary stress.
You meticulously plan for the birth of your child and hope that all will go well.
What you don’t plan for however, unless there are early complications pointing towards the possibility of an early labour, is that your baby could arrive earlier than planned.
You believe that your baby will stay safely tucked in your womb till at least the 37 weeks of gestation are over and come into this world healthy.
However, some women do go into early labour and their babies arrive into this world not quite ready to face the challenges of the first year of life. In fact, in Singapore, 1 in 10 babies is born premature.
These babies born-too-soon miss out on being in the womb for the final weeks, which is when the brain and other vital organs become fully developed to equip them to survive successfully outside the womb.
As a consequence of that, these babies almost always require longer hospital stays, and at times they may also have health complications.
When an unanticipated event like this happens, it’s natural for a mum to ask why did this happen…what could I have done to avoid this?
Not all causes of premature births can be explained. However, there are certain factors that place some women at a much higher risk of preterm labour – this could be because of their personal medical histories, complications developed during pregnancy or simply because of certain lifestyle choices.
Here are some tips that can help you to assess your risks of having a preterm baby and 8 ways in which you can minimize the risk of premature labour.
Know your own medical history
Be extra mindful of your own personal medical history. One is more likely to have a premature baby under these circumstances:
1. Previous premature births – One of the main risk factors for premature delivery is a previous premature delivery.
2. Multiple pregnancy – Being pregnant with twins, triplets or other multiples increases the risk of premature delivery.
3. Under 17 years old or over 35 years old – The chances of going into preterm labour are heightened significantly if one falls within either of these age groups.
4. Have cervical insufficiency – This means that the cervix could open or shorten before one reaches full term, leading to preterm births. Cervical insufficiency could be attributed to the cervix being inherently weak, or the weakness may be caused by a previous pregnancy, obstetric trauma or childbirth.
Click on next to find out what are some other ways to assess your risk of a preterm labour