Pre-Term Labor Risks Manchester NH
Pre-Term Labor Risks
Before a woman can determine how to avoid pre-term labor, she must understand what it is, and what causes the condition. Pre-term labor is diagnosed when labor begins before 37 weeks gestation; 3 or more weeks prior to the due date. Unfortunately, in most cases, the actual cause of pre-term labor is unknown. However, there are instances when certain conditions are identified, and act as a warning sign that early (pre-term) labor is a possibility.
Some known causes of pre-term labor include; a prior history of premature labor, premature rupture of membranes, carrying more than one fetus, smoking, alcohol or substance abuse, uterine infection, incompetent cervix, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes.
It is important to understand what labor is, and when it is actually occurring. There are certain "guidelines" that most doctors and midwives will go over. Make sure to understand what these mean, and when to call your doctor. Usually, these guidelines include the following:
Call Your Doctor If:
*You have four or more contractions in a one-hour period. On a personal note, I felt I needed to call when I had three contractions in an hour, as I lived 45 minutes away from the hospital. Contractions are painful; they are more than a cramping sensation. Your abdomen will get hard during a contraction, and you may have difficulty speaking. Additionally, a contraction can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.
*A constant pain in the lower back, which radiates towards the uterus, can also be a sign that labor has begun.
Often, the most reliable sign that labor is beginning, is a woman's intuition that things are not "right." Do not hesitate to call your doctor or midwife. Remember that they are there to care for you, and your unborn baby. Never feel that you are "pestering" your doctor of midwife. They understand your concerns, and expect that you will call with questions.
Although there is no sure-fire way to prevent pre-term labor, there are precautions that you can take to give you and your baby the best chance possible of going to full term.
Among these are:
Pre-term labor can be treated with various medications, restrictions, and monitoring. If you feel, at any time, that labor is beginning, call your health care provider immediately. If the condition is caught early on, your baby will have a much better chance of survival.
Author: Allison Hutton
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