A discussion of preventable preterm labor and birth risk factors


Preterm labor and birth are defined as active labor and a subsequent birth before 37 weeks gestation. According to the World Health Organization, complications surrounding preterm birth is the leading cause of death of children under 5 years old. More importantly, at least 75% of preterm births can be prevented with cost effective measures (WHO, 2018).  


In a recent editorial, Jun-Hung and colleagues discuss some risks causing preterm labor and preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), as well as possible ways to prevent it from occurring. Risk factors include but are not limited to age; both young and old, prior miscarriages, heavy vaginal bacterial growth, and malnutrition. They outline preventative measures such as surgical correction of a short cervix, infection control, as well as education and safe sex knowledge among adolescents (Jun-Hung et al, 2020). At any stage of pregnancy, prenatal care is of the utmost importance, to possibly prevent the morbidity and mortality associated with preterm birth.  


It is important that you learn the signs of premature labor so that you can seek immediate help from your doctor. Here are some signs that you may have preterm labor: 


  • - Contractions 

  • - Vaginal Bleeding or leaking 

  • - Pressure in the pelvis 

  • - Low dull backache 

  • - Period like cramping 

  • - Belly cramps 


If you are pregnant and experience these symptoms, it is important that you see your physician right away.  There are a number of things that can be done to try and stop or delay premature delivery so it is crucial that you seek medical attention if you are pregnant and are experiencing the symptoms of premature delivery.


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