Baby, you're early!!
- By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi
The reasons for delivery are not well understood, and in such a case the reasons for an early delivery can also not be fully explained. There are some risk factors though that may give an idea to your obstetrician to be careful with your pregnancy as you may be prone to an early, pre-term delivery. Read on to know more.
- Multiple gestation- When you are carrying more than one baby at a time there may be a high chance that you may deliver them before the end of 37 weeks. The uterus is a muscle and like any other muscle, it can only stretch up to a certain limit. When there are two babies crammed inside it, it tends to push beyond its capacity to accommodate them. In the process it may gibe in early and this could lead to early labor and delivery.
- History of preterm birth- If you have delivered a preterm baby in the past, you have a 15% to 40% chance of preterm labor and delivery in your subsequent pregnancies. The chances depend on the number of previous preterm births and how early they occurred. The earlier a preterm birth occurs, the more likely it is that the next birth will be as early or even earlier.
- History of abortions- It is seen that women who have had abortions may end up delivering their baby before their due date. These women often show an inability to carry a pregnancy to term which is why it often ends in abortions or if carried further, preterm delivery.
- Vaginal bleeding in the middle of pregnancy- A woman who has vaginal bleeding around the 12th to 16th week of pregnancy has high chances of delivery. Placenta previa and placental abruption are two major causes of bleeding during the middle of pregnancy.
- Infections- Bacterial infections account for almost 30% of preterm deliveries. Infections anywhere along the reproductive tract from the vagina, cervix, uterus, amniotic fluid or even kidneys can be a cause for concern. Sometimes, infections in the blood can also trigger early labor.
- Polyhydramnios - This is a condition where the woman has too much of amniotic fluid in her uterus, more than 2000 mL. This condition puts her at a risk for early labor. This happens because the excess fluid will make the uterus stretch and once it has reached the end of its capacity, the uterus gives in and contractions begin.
- Cervical Problems- The cervix ideally should remain closed throughout the pregnancy and should soften and dilate only during the end of it so the baby can come out easily. In certain cases, the cervix begins to dilate earlier than usual. In such cases, there are high chances for preterm labor.
- Abnormalities of the uterus- A bicornuate uterus, retroverted uterus, presence of a septum are all conditions that may cause pre-term delivery.
- Genetic, Economic and Social factors- Inherited factors like short stature or being underweight can cause preterm labor. Having parents who are close relatives is also a high risk factor. Poverty affects the prenatal care and nutrition of the pregnant lady and adversely affects the outcome of pregnancy too.
Preterm delivery is an unpredictable risk, it is important that your obstetrician knows your history well and you receive all the necessary care.