Dr. Zhang’s Pick Of The Month: What You Need To Know About Premature Births

On average, one in every eight babies in the United States is a premature birth. Being born too early can result in health issues that can follow a child throughout their life and can even result in infant death. Preventing premature birth is the goal of both mothers and their medical teams. Knowing the facts about premature birth can help mothers to seek help as soon as possible in the event of premature labor.

Facts about Premature Births Nov012015

More than 15 million babies are born prematurely in the US. Premature birth happens when a woman delivers prior to the 37th week of pregnancy. A number of health issues can arise as a result of premature birth including:

  • Respiratory issues
  • Brain hemorrhages
  • Difficulty seeing
  • Developmental delays
  • Jaundice

Causes of Premature Births

It is common for mothers to feel some guilt about their premature birth. The truth is, delivering prematurely is a medical issue that is typically not impacted by the acts of the mother. It is believed that there may be a genetic component of the issue or that the woman’s environment may have an impact. Common causes of delivering prematurely include:

  • Having an infection
  • Experiencing bleeding during the pregnancy
  • Having an autoimmune disease
  • Abnormalities in the placenta
  • Having a multiple pregnancy

Women who smoke, abuse drugs or do not get prenatal care are at the highest risk for delivering prematurely.

When to See a Doctor

The best way to stop premature labor is to address the issue as possible. Contact your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Bleeding during the pregnancy
  • Your water breaking or a sensation of leaking fluid
  • Experiencing contractions that are painful

Many women are hesitant to contact their doctor to address their symptoms. However, getting medical attention early allows the medical team to take steps necessary to help prepare your baby for birth, in the event that the labor is not able to be stopped.

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