Are you concerned about preterm labor during your last trimester of pregnancy? Preterm labor occurs when you start having contractions and changes in the cervix before the 37th week of pregnancy. These contractions cause your cervix to open prematurely, causing your baby to be born before the normal gestation period, which is 40 weeks. Around 12% of pregnancies may have a premature labor.
If your baby is born prematurely, he/she may have some health problems. This is why it is very important that you pay attention to signs of premature labor.
Below we cover the signs of premature labor so you know what to look out for, then go into ways premature labor can be prevented.
How do I know if I am at risk for preterm labor?
There are many factors that can put you at risk of experiencing premature labor:
- Gum disease. Incredible but it is true.
- Incompetent cervix or uterine abnormalities.
- Chronic diseases such as gestational diabetes, anemia, severe asthma, hypertension, heart disease, kidney disease, etc.
- Infections, especially in the uterus.
- Suffering from hormonal imbalances.
- Fibroids in the uterus.
- Multiple pregnancies.
- Having placenta previa.
Prevention is the mother of all good health. Risk identification and recognizing signs of premature labor can save your baby’s life.
There are other risk factors that you can reduce yourself in order for your baby to have the best opportunities of being born healthy and at the appropriate time, between 38 and 40 weeks.
The following factors can increase your likelihood of preterm labor:
- Getting pregnant after 35 years of age.
- Performing heavy physical activities during pregnancy.
- Smoking, alcohol and drug abuse.
- Poor nutrition during pregnancy causing low weight gain.
What are the signs of premature labor?
As soon as you feel any of the following signs of premature labor, call your doctor immediately. The sooner you identify the first symptoms of preterm labor, the better opportunities you will have of reducing the risks of premature birth.
Here you have some warning signs:
- Pelvic pressure. This sign is very common in most pregnant women in the last weeks, but should not be before week 37, so be careful and listen to your body.
- Abdominal cramping.
- Bleeding, vaginal discharge, leaking, or rupture of membranes (gushing of amniotic fluid).
- And finally the most common signs of premature labor are contractions. How do you know if it is a contraction or something else? Contractions do not always cause pain. Many moms describe them as follows: The stomach gets hard and firm.There is a feeling like the baby is balling up.Some women may feel them more like cramps. Contractions can seem like a mild backache that is constant, or that comes and goes. Having more than four contractions in an hour is a warning sign.
How to prevent preterm labor?
There are some considerations that you should know to minimize risks of early labor in daily life.
Here are some things that can help you reach full term:
- Stay well hydrated.
- At the same time keep your bladder empty. It shall be a process of water in and water out in order to prevent irritation of the uterus.
- Do not lift heavy things.
- Take frequent rests and try to lie down on your left side. This will help the blood flow to your baby.
As you can see, these actions are very simple.