Preterm Birth: Two Questions Left Unanswered That Could Help In Saving The Lives Of Mothers And Babies

By Sammuel Larson, Parent Herald December 05, 09:06 am
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Here are answers to questions about preterm/premature delivery that would help in saving the lives of 1 million babies around the world, and mitigate the risks that women are exposed to.
(Photo : Mike Simons/Getty Images)

A premature baby is one who is born too early, before 37 weeks. Premature babies may have more health problems and may need to stay in the hospital longer than babies born later.

We still have a lot to learn about premature birth so it's not always possible to explain the causes and why it happens. There are maternal and baby risk factors for being born early, such as infection, placental problems or genetic problems for example but in many cases the cause is unknown.

Without knowing the causes, a treatment is difficult. This is partly the reason why prevention of premature birth is still in need of extensive research says CNBC.

The earlier in pregnancy a baby is born, the more likely he is to have health problems. Some premature babies have to spend time in a hospital's neonatal intensive care unit (also called NICU).

NICU is the part of a hospital that takes care of sick newborns. But thanks to advances in medical care, even babies born very prematurely are more likely to survive today than ever before, according to the World Health Organization.

Sometimes it is safest to deliver the baby preterm, especially in cases when the pregnant mom has certain types of infection or severe pre-eclampsia, or if her baby has a health problem. If this is the case then she may actually be advised to have the baby early, by induction of labor or caesarean section.

Using all the information available about pregnancy, every healthcare team will do its best to reduce the risk of premature birth and get the best outcome for the mother and the baby. There are steps that can help to minimize the risk factors and health problems of premature labor and preterm birth.

First, it is very important for every pregnant mom to receive all of the antenatal care that is offered by the doctors so that the risk of having a premature baby may be fully assessed during pregnancy and any treatment planned.

Second, is for the mother to reduce some of the lifestyle factors that are linked to preterm birth. Although the reasons for prematurely born babies are still not fully understood, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of prematurity and save the life of the baby that every mother carry.

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