Preventing Preterm Labor – How can we Prevent Preterm Labor

Preterm Labor
Preterm labor is when the labor starts before 37 weeks of gestation, that is 3 or 4 weeks before the given due date. In most cases, the exact cause of preterm labor is not known. However, you can identify certain signs that indicate preterm labor. Some causes in preterm labor are a past history of premature labor, hyperthyroidism, substance or alcohol abuse, incompetent cervix, hyperthyroidism, smoking and multiple pregnancies. Whatever might be the cause of preterm labor, you can watch out for signs of labor. Preventing preterm labor is not an easy task, but there are many things you can do to have a healthy and full term pregnancy.

How can we prevent preterm labor
You can have a full term pregnancy by following a healthy lifestyle. Though it is not guaranteed that you can avoid preterm labor, you can follow these simple steps to help prevent it. They are:

Regular Prenatal Care
Prenatal visits can help your health care provider monitor your health and the baby’s as well. Even if any of the unusual signs and symptoms seem silly, do not neglect them. Ask your doctor if you have any doubts about any of the unusual signs.

Eat Healthy Foods
In pregnancy, you will need more calcium, protein, folic acid, iron and many other essential nutrients. You can ask your doctor and take prenatal vitamins daily during pregnancy to meet the nutritional needs. Apart from the supplements, you need to eat a healthy diet for a healthy pregnancy.

Manage Chronic Conditions
Diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes increase the risk of going into preterm labor. If you suffer from any of the above chronic conditions, talk to your health care provider to help keep them under control.

Follow your health care provider’s guidelines
Follow every instruction given by your health care provider. Sometimes they may suggest you work for fewer hours or may ask you to reduce the time you spend walking. You need to rest and follow everything a health care provider suggests you do, which can help prevent preterm labor to some extent.

Avoid risky substances
Avoid some of the risky habits that you have had before pregnancy like smoking and drinking alcohol. Smoking, alcohol, other recreational drugs and over the counter drugs should be avoided to help prevent preterm labor. Get permission from your doctor before taking any drugs or supplements.

Talk to your health care provider about sex
If you have certain complications, like problems with the cervix or placenta and vaginal bleeding, ask your health care provider about sex as it may worsen your condition.

Manage stress
Set some quiet time every day and stick to it. This can help you manage stress. You could also do prenatal yoga to help manage stress.

Take care of your teeth
You need to brush and floss your teeth daily. You should also visit your dentist for proper dental care and cleaning. There are some studies that state that gum diseases are associated with preterm labor.

Your doctor may recommend you have weekly shots of the hormone progesterone to prevent preterm labor. This is done especially, if you have a history of preterm delivery. For some women there are no signs of preterm labor, but there are certain signs and symptoms that you need to watch out for preterm labor. They are:

  • Low, dull backache
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding
  • Watery vaginal discharge
  • Diarrhea
  • Contractions that happen for more than eight times in an hour
  • Pelvic pressure felt near the groin area

If you have vaginal bleeding along with abdominal pain and cramps, contact your health care provider immediately.

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