How can I avoid preterm labor?

We MFMs wish we knew. Physicians and nurses who care for pregnant patients, physicians and all other providers who take care of preemies through their lifetimes, parents and researchers have looked at many ways to prevent preterm labor and delivery and its effects on children and families. At this point we do not even know all the causes. Plus we often lack treatment. Funding of research is what we need along with care.
Complicated Question. Avoid preterm labor by concentrating on modifiable risk factors such as smoking, drug use, malnutrition. Unfortunately, most risk factors for preterm birth are non-modifiable. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors. Options if you are at increased risk include cervical length measurements, fetal fibronectin, Progesterone treatments, hydration, bedrest. Tocolytics may help if you are symptomatic and at risk of imminent delivery.
Preterm labor med. Women who have experienced preterm delivery (less than 37 weeks) are candidates for treatment with weekly injections of 17 hydroxyprogesterone caproate. This drug is the only medication currently approved for the prevention of preterm labor. It is given as weekly injections, starting at about 16 weeks through 36 weeks.

Related Questions

What are signs of preterm labor?

Cramping/Contraction. Cramping and contractions are common. Additional signs that can signify preterm labor include rhythmic back pain or pelvic pressure, change in vaginal discharge, bleeding or spotting, large gush of amniotic fluid. In any case where preterm labor is suspected the pregnant woman should seek immediate care from her OB provider or local OB facility.

What is considered a preterm labor?

Yes. Preterm labor is when the uterus starts regular contractions and tries to deliver the baby before 37 weeks of pregnancy. 1 in 8-10 pregnancies are born preterm, which may cause cause problems with the baby.
Uterus+cervix change. Labor is the presence of regular contractions plus change in the cervix. When labor occurs before term, or 37 completed weeks of gestation, then it is considered preterm labor. If born too early, the premature newborn faces some problems like difficulty breathing, poor resistance to infection, bleeding in the head, etc. An OB expert needs to evaluate all cases and determine whether to try to stop.
Painful contractions. Regular and painful contractions before 37 weeks of pregnancy that result in cervical changes.

What are the signs of preterm labor?

Contractions, other. Contractions with cervical change before term define preterm labor. They can be mild or irregular, accompanied by discharge, back pain, etc. If preterm, especially with risk factors (eg, twins, diabetes), it is always appropriate to call OB or go to labor & delivery asap. An evaluation by physician is needed. Sometimes a transfer to a perinatal center is required, and it can take time to mobilize.

How can I tell if this is preterm labor?

Be suspicious! First baby? Expected when? Some cramping- contractions do come and go! You have some time to be observant, and call OB to alert them.

What happens if I go into preterm labor?

Depends. If you act quickly and do not rupture your membranes, the doc can stop your labor with meds and give baby more time to develop. If you do nothing, you will go into labor early and likely end up with a baby in intensive care.

What are the risk factors for preterm labor?

Many. There are many risk factors for preterm birth. The best predictor is a previous preterm delivery with a prior pregnancy. Other risk factors include multiple gestation, short cervix, cigarette smoking, being a teenager, short interval between pregnancies, drug use, poor nutrition and being underweight or very overweight.
Not all have risks. Sometimes preterm labor, and even delivery, can happen in women with no known risk factors. If a pregnant woman doesn't have any of the typical risk factors like twins or triplets, bleeding, prior history of preterm birth, etc, she should call her OB if signs or symptoms of premature labor. If she does have those risks, she should be prepared to notify her OB and go to labor & delivery immediately.

How to tell if I am going into preterm labor?

Preterm labor. The best way to tell, is by a cervical check and toco monitoring. This can be performed in the doctors office or in the hospital.

I don't understand why I went into preterm labor again?

PreTerm Labor. We don't know the reason for ptl but if you had one ptl then you are at risk for this to happen again. Hope this helps.