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Frequently Asked Questions About Pre-term Birth

by oliviataylor
preterm birth

Preterm labour takes place before you enter the 37 weeks of your pregnancy. Moreover, it is during this time that you give birth to premature babies, who are generally small in size and might develop complex health needs, basis which your little one is born. Your baby, for instance, is born on the 23rd or 24th week of your pregnancy. In fact, the treatment for the baby born on this week might slightly different from the baby who might be born between 34 to 36 weeks of your pregnancy.

So, what does premature baby or preterm birth mean?

When you complete the 37 weeks of your pregnancy, your baby might be full term. However, if somehow, you give birth before 37 weeks of your pregnancy, your baby will be premature. 

What are the symptoms of premature labour?

You need to know warning signs to act fast and call your doctor. The symptoms of preterm labour are:

  • Backache: This usually occurs in your lower back and the pain constantly comes and fades away. 
  • Contractions: This occurs after every 10 minutes. It might even become faster and severe.
  • Vaginal bleeding: Light bleeding is common during labour. Water breaking or foetal membrane rupture, which occurs before or during pre-term labour, gives rise to sudden gush of fluid from the vagina. 
  • Increased pressure on the vagina: This pressure is due to your baby pushing down. With the progression of the pressure, vaginal discharge becomes mucousy, watery, or bloody.
  • Cramps: It feels like menstrual cramps in your lower abdomen. This also feels you have a pain life you have acid reflux or gastritis. 

You, at times, would not be able to make out much difference from the normal symptoms of your pregnancy, with that the symptoms of premature labour. Therefore, you need to be very careful.  

What are the reasons behind premature birth?

Here are some of the reasons behind premature birth: 

  • If you had a preemie baby earlier 
  • If you have been pregnant with twins, or triplets 
  • If you have been pregnant less than the span of 6 months after a pregnancy
  • If you are conceiving through in vitro fertilisation
  • If you have problems with the uterus, cervix or placenta 
  • If you have infections in the amniotic fluid or the lower genital tract. 
  • If you’re underweight or overweight before pregnancy
  • If you have had miscarriages 

What complications do premature babies have?

All premature babies may not be born with complications, however, some babies who are born earlier than your due date may have short or long-term complications.

Some short-term complications are

Well! Your preemie baby may develop certain short-term complications in the first few weeks. In fact, they include breathing problems, heart, brain, blood, and gastrointestinal problems. 

Some long-term complications are

Well! Not just short-term problems, but your preemie baby might develop long term problems and that may include – cerebral palsy, vision, hearing, and dental problems even behavioural problems and chronic health problems.

Jaundice may be a common health concern of your premature baby. 

Moreover, if your baby is born before 22 weeks of your pregnancy, he or she may not be able to survive. However, if your baby is born at 23 or 24 weeks of your pregnancy, his or her health at birth will depend completely on his or her birth weight. His or her doctor will ensure that your baby should be healthy at birth. 

How to deal with your premature baby after birth? 

Your breastmilk is extremely important for your premature little one, as it has the all-essential nutrients he or she needs. In fact, breastmilk has all the properties necessary for your premature baby’s brain development. Well! Since your premature little one is too little to latch on to your breasts, the midwife will teach you how to pump your milk as your little one would need to be fed via a tube in the beginning.

In the end, becoming a mother is both a challenging and fulfilling experience. Your baby may be born full-term, or premature, he or she is the joy of your life and this is a feeling you need to cherish for the rest of your life. 

And, some more information on pregnancy, childbirth, baby care and the benefits of cord blood banking.

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