Preterm Labour

If labour starts more than three weeks before the due date

Ask anything about preterm labour

Effective tips to prevent preterm labor

Along with the joy of pregnancy, a first-time mother also experiences anxiety and fear about labor and delivery. She wants her pregnancy to be smooth and uneventful. She is scared that something might go wrong during her pregnancy and her baby might be harmed. At times, a mother is unable to carry her baby for the entire nine months and has a delivery before the full term. A baby who gets delivered before the 37th week is termed as a preterm baby. A preterm baby may or may not be completely developed and are at a high risk of various diseases and infections. Although the causes of preterm labor are not exactly known, experts point to a number of factors can trigger preterm labor- Smoking, alcohol and drug use: Short interval between pregnancies Uterine and vaginal infections Pregnancy complications Structural anomalies of the uterus and/or cervix Gum infections Stress levels Occupational factors Carrying multiples Maternal age A previous preterm birth If you were preterm yourself Although, many of the above factors are beyond a mother’s control, there are still a few precautionary measures that can be taken to prevent preterm labor – Eat healthy – A healthy diet goes a long way in ensuring that you have a healthy baby. Consume foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, calcium and vitamin C, in order to provide your growing baby all the essential nutrients and build his/her immune system. Avoid alcohol – Consuming alcohol during pregnancy has often been linked to preterm labor so quit drinking for the sake of your baby. Alcohol may also harm your baby’s growth adversely. Say no to smoking – Mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to go into preterm labor and their babies are more likely to have low birth weight. Stop smoking immediately to ensure the well-being of your baby. Exercise and yoga – Staying active, exercising regularly and practicing prenatal yoga not only ensures a smooth delivery but also helps to improve the chances of carrying your baby full term. Take prenatal vitamins – Vitamin deficiency is one of the main factors responsible for preterm labor. Make sure that you take all your prenatal vitamins timely. Keep an eye on your weight – Maintain a healthy weight as prescribed by your doctor. Adding too many kilos can lead to gestational diabetes and this might lead to early labor. Being underweight may also be a cause of preterm labor. Stay hydrated – Drink enough water to keep your body hydrated, simple it helps to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Maintain adequate gap between two pregnancies- If you’re planning another baby, ensure that you conceive after a minimum of 18 months after your first baby is born. If the mother’s body is weak, the chances of a preterm labor are higher. Do not hold on to urine – Urinate whenever you have the urge to. Holding on to urine can not only lead to urinary tract infections but also put unnecessary pressure on the bladder and lead to preterm labor. Get adequate rest – Getting adequate rest is of utmost importance in ensuring that you have an uneventful pregnancy and are able to carry your baby to the full term. Maintain good oral health – This might sound surprizing but good oral health goes a long way in ensuring that you carry your baby to the full term. Keep flu at bay – Research has shown that women who catch a flu often are more likely to go into preterm labor. Make sure that you are vaccinated against the flu and are getting enough rest even if you get it. Featured Image Source

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What causes low amniotic fluid during pregnancy

The amniotic fluid is part of the baby’s life support system. It protects your baby and aids in the development of muscles, limbs, lungs and digestive system. Amniotic fluid is produced soon after the amniotic sac forms at about 12 days after conception.  It is first made up of water that is provided by the mother, and then around 20 weeks fetal urine becomes the primary substance. As the baby grows he or she will move and tumble in the womb with the help of the amniotic fluid. In the second trimester the baby will begin to breathe and swallow the amniotic fluid. In some cases the amniotic fluid may measure too low or too high.  If the measurement of amniotic fluid is too low it is called oligohydramnios.  If the measurement of amniotic fluid is too high it is called polyhydramnios. What is oligohydramnios? Oligohydramnios is the condition of having too little amniotic fluid.  Doctors can measure the amount of fluid through a few different methods, most commonly through amniotic fluid index (AFI) evaluation or deep pocket measurements. If an AFI shows a fluid level of less than 5 centimeters (or less than the 5th percentile), the absence of a fluid pocket 2-3 cm in depth, or a fluid volume of less than 500mL at 32-36 weeks gestation, then a diagnosis of oligohydramnios would be suspected. About 8% of pregnant women can have low levels of amniotic fluid, with about 4% being diagnosed with oligohydramnios. It can occur at any time during pregnancy, but it is most common during the last trimester.  If a woman is past her due date by two weeks or more, she may be at risk for low amniotic fluid levels since fluids can decrease by half once she reaches 42 weeks gestation. Oligohydramnios can cause complications in about 12% of pregnancies that go past 41 weeks. What causes low amniotic fluid? Birth defects – Problems with the development of the kidneys or urinary tract which could cause little urine production, leading to low levels of amniotic fluid. Placental problems – If the placenta is not providing enough blood and nutrients to the baby, then the baby may stop recycling fluid. Leaking or rupture of membranes –This may be a gush of fluid or a slow constant trickle of fluid. This is due to a tear in the membrane. Premature rupture of membranes (PROM) can also result in low amniotic fluid levels. Post Date Pregnancy– A post date pregnancy (one that goes over 42 weeks) can have low levels of amniotic fluid, which could be a result of declining placental function. Maternal Complications– Factors such as maternal dehydration, hypertension, preeclampsia, diabetes, and chronic hypoxia can have an effect on amniotic fluid levels. What are the risks of having low amniotic fluid? The risks associated with oligohydramnios often depend on the gestation of the pregnancy. The amniotic fluid is essential for the development of muscles, limbs, lungs, and the digestive system. In the second trimester, the baby begins to breathe and swallow the fluid to help their lungs grow and mature. The amniotic fluid also helps the baby develop muscles and limbs by providing plenty of room to move around. If oligohydramnios is detected in the first half of pregnancy, the complications can be more serious and include: Compression of fetal organs resulting in birth defects Increased chance of miscarriage or stillbirth If oligohydramnios is detected in the second half of pregnancy, complications can include: Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) Preterm birth Labor complications such as cord compression, meconium stained fluid and cesarean delivery What treatments are available if I am experiencing low amniotic fluid? The treatment for low levels of amniotic fluid is based on gestational age. If you are not full term yet, your doctor will monitor you and your levels very closely. Tests such as non-stress and contraction stress test may be done to monitor your baby’s activity. If you are close to full term, then delivery is usually what most doctors recommend in situations of low amniotic fluid levels. Other treatments that may be used include: Amnio-infusion during labor through an intrauterine catheter.  This added fluid helps with padding around the umbilical cord during delivery and is reported to help lower the chances of a cesarean delivery. Injection of fluid prior to delivery through amniocentesis.  The condition of oligohydramnios is reported to often return within one week of this procedure, but it can aid in helping doctors visualize fetal anatomy and make a diagnosis. Maternal re-hydration with oral fluids or IV fluids has shown to help increase amniotic fluid levels. content source

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Abdominal pain during pregnancy

Abdominal pain during pregnancy can happen quite often and can become very uncomfortable at times. But how do you decide what pain is acceptable and when it indicates something more serious? Here’s everything you need to know about abdominal pain during pregnancy.   Is abdominal pain during pregnancy normal? Abdominal pain is a common occurrence during pregnancy and is normal in a healthy pregnancy. Carrying a baby puts pressure on your muscles, joints, veins. As your baby grows, the uterus tilts to the right which causes pain in the right side. The ligaments on both sides of your body grow to accommodate your growing baby so you may feel pain on both sides of the stomach. Having sex may sometimes trigger abdominal pain and cramping, especially during the third trimester. It might be a good idea to keep the sex soft at this time.   How to deal with normal abdominal pain during pregnancy? Getting some rest is the best way to deal with the cramps. Other methods include sitting down with your feet up, lying on the side opposite to the one which hurts, taking a warm bath, and using a hot water bottle or a heated wheat bag on the area which hurts. When can abdominal pain mean something more? Abdominal pain can be an indicator of something more under the following circumstances.   Abdominal pain unrelated to pregnancy This could be gas, bloating, UTI, kidney stones or even appendicitis. You should contact your doctor if the pain is accompanied by pain or burning when you pee, spotting or bleeding, vomiting, unusual vaginal discharge, tenderness and pain, chills and fever.   Abdominal pain during an early miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy If abdominal pain is accompanied by bleeding in your first trimester it could be an early miscarriage. You may also have painful cramping and dark, watery blood if you have an ectopic pregnancy in your first trimester. In either case, it’s best to go to the doctor immediately.   Abdominal pain during a late miscarriage Abdominal pain in the second trimester is usually nothing to worry about. In rare cases, it may indicate a late miscarriage only if it’s accompanied by bleeding. It usually occurs between 12 and 24 weeks.   Abdominal pain in the third trimester Severe abdominal pain in the third trimester could be an indicator of premature labour. In this case, you would feel pain in your pelvic or lower tummy area, backache, mild tummy cramps and diarrhoea. You may even have your water breaking, and regular contractions, or uterus tightening. This may happen between 24 weeks and 37 weeks of pregnancy and your doctor should be consulted immediately.    

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Top 6 Pregnancy Fears (and Why You Shouldn't Worry?)

Many women experience fear of the unknown during pregnancy. Here are the top 6 pregnancy fears and why you shouldn't worry- 1. I'll have a miscarriage Most pregnancies result in healthy babies, and less than 20 percent end in miscarriage. Also, remember that most miscarriages happen within the first few weeks of pregnancy when many women typically don't realize they're expecting and wouldn't know if they did miscarry. They'd just get a normal-looking period. After your doctor can see a heartbeat (usually around 6 to 8 weeks) the risk of miscarriage drops to about 5 percent. And the odds of having a second miscarriage are very small – less than 3 percent. So what causes a miscarriage? Often, it's due to a chromosomal abnormality that prevents the fetus from developing normally, and miscarrying is totally unavoidable – not because of anything you did or didn't do. But you can lower your risk by not smoking or drinking alcohol and cutting back on your caffeine intake (aim for 200 milligrams or less, or one large cup of coffee, a day). Can you stop a miscarriage from happening?  Sadly, there's no way to stop a miscarriage from happening once it's started. It is vital to be seen by your doctor and treated to prevent hemorrhaging and/or infection. 2. My baby will have a birth defect   Like many moms-to-be, you hold your breath during every single prenatal test, hoping the results will prove your baby is healthy and developing on track. And it's overwhelmingly likely that she is. The risk of your baby having any birth defect is only 4 percent. That includes serious ones as well as all of the thousands of other identified abnormalities, many of which are small and insignificant, like a problem with a toenail or a tiny heart defect that goes away soon after birth without causing any health issues. Even if a screening test (like an ultrasound or quad screen) comes back abnormal, it doesn't necessarily mean there's a problem. In many cases, subsequent tests confirm that everything is fine. The best way to protect your baby: Take a multivitamin with folic acid before pregnancy and pop your prenatal vitamins daily to reduce the risk of brain and spinal defects. You should also talk to your doctor about any specific concerns you have. She should be able to give you a clear idea of the true risks, given your family history and age, and help put your "what if" worries into perspective. 3. I will go into labor too early This one might be on your worry radar because the rate of premature births has been steadily increasing. But more than 70 percent of these babies are born between 34 and 36 weeks – far enough along in the pregnancy that the risk of serious complications or developmental issues is much lower. Pregnant women can do quite a few things to lower their risk of delivering early: Don't smoke or drink alcohol, have regular prenatal checkups, and take prenatal folic acid supplements every day. A recent study of nearly 40,000 women found that those who popped the vitamins for a year prior to conception and throughout their pregnancies were between 50 and 70 percent less likely to deliver early than those who didn't take them. The researchers believe that folic acid may prevent certain genes from malfunctioning and causing premature labor. 4. Sex will never be the same  After Baby makes her way out, it's hard to imagine how everything “down there” will get back to normal. But you just need to give your body time to heal, and your libido a chance to fire back up again. During the first few months, odds are you and your hubby will crave sleep more than sex, anyway. Once your doctor gives you the green light, take it slow. Sex may hurt or feel uncomfortable the first few times (lube will be your new best friend). But the human body is an amazing thing with an incredible ability to snap back and recover. In fact, nearly 70 percent of women report that things are back to business as usual by six months after delivery, according to one study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. And once the initial ouch-ness passes and your muscles regain their strength, a lot of new moms actually find their sex lives improve post-baby. They crave it more often and find intimacy more satisfying than before. 5. Labor will be too tough or painful At some point, you’ll realize that your baby needs an exit strategy, and you’ll probably worry about labor and delivery. First, take a step back and realize that women have been doing this since the dawn of time – and these days, there's plenty you can do about the pain. Read up on pain management techniques, attend childbirth classes, poll all your friends for tips on how they got through labor, and draw up a birth plan to discuss with your doctor. Regardless of your worrying style, it's most important to have a doctor you trust and can chat openly with about your fears and wishes in the delivery room, and who can talk you through what to really expect. That will go a long way toward putting your mind at ease. 6. I will have complications like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes The risk of developing dangerously high blood pressure (preeclampsia) is just between 5 and 8 percent. It's more common in women under 18 or over age 35, as well as in women who have borderline high blood pressure going into their pregnancy. But if you had any of these factors, your doctor would be monitoring you closely from the very beginning and would likely catch the condition early.   Preeclampsia also doesn't tend to develop until the second half of pregnancy, and in some cases, it arises so late that there are few adverse health effects. There's no way to necessarily lower your risk for the condition. But make sure you get regular prenatal checkups (during which your blood pressure will be checked) and alerting your doctor to any symptoms of preeclampsia, – such as swelling of your hands or face, blurry vision, or major headaches – will ensure it's caught in its earliest stages. As for gestational diabetes – a condition where your body becomes unable to process sugar properly, so it accumulates in the bloodstream – the risks are similarly low. Simple dietary changes, like limiting your intake of starchy carbs, are usually all it takes to get gestational diabetes under control. For healthy women with no history of diabetes, a routine blood glucose test between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy can spot the condition. Content Source