Generally the gestation period in human beings is forty weeks. Babies that are born before 37 weeks of pregnancy are termed as premature babies. The exact cause for preterm labor is unknown. But, there are many risk factors that increase the chances of premature birth.
Here is an overview of causes of premature birth.
Giving Birth to Multiples
If two or more eggs fertilize at the same time then it results in development of twins, triplets and even four babies in one pregnancy. Majority of the twins and all higher order multiples are born premature.
History of Premature Birth
Women who had premature deliveries are at increased of risk of pre-mature delivery in later pregnancies too.
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Very less gap between Pregnancies
It is highly recommended to have a gap of six months to nine months between delivery of a baby and starting of next pregnancy to avoid premature birth. This gap is essential for the mother’s uterus to regain strength so as to support the new baby.
High Blood Pressure
In few women the protein levels rise very rapidly after 20th week of pregnancy. This leads to swelling of the face and extremities, headaches, vomiting, nausea and vision disturbances. Increased blood pressure results in complications both to the mother and baby. To avoid such complications the doctors may induce premature delivery.
Smoking and Alcohol Consumption
Women who drink and smoke during pregnancy are at increased risk of premature labor. Even if the babies are born after completion of gestation period they may be very less weight.
Infections of the urinary tract, kidneys and vagina is one of the mostly commonly observed causes of premature birth. Bacterial vaginosis results in change in acidity of the vagina which in turn increases the risk for having premature babies. It even reduces the effectiveness of the immune system increasing the risk for other infections.
Source by : wikimedia
Abnormalities of Uterus
An abnormal uterus with fibroids or that stretches abnormally can result in premature birth. Presence of very less amniotic fluid can also result in premature delivery. Few women have impotent cervix and hence, cannot hold the fetus. In such women cervix is stitched to the required extent during the 12th week to prevent premature birth. The stitch is removed during full term pregnancy.
Age of the Mother
Too early or too late pregnancy i.e. women who become pregnant at an early age of 18 years or at a late age of 40 years are at increased risk of premature delivery.
abortions during second trimester can result in premature birth in future pregnancies.
Health of the Mother before Pregnancy
women who had poor health and are either underweight or obese before pregnancy are likely to give birth to premature babies.
Babies born before 34 weeks of pregnancy are hard to survive. But, currently there are many hospitals offering treatment for a premature baby at their fully equipped neonatal wings. By offering best treatment for a premature baby it is possible to avoid many complications that generally develop during growth and development of the baby.