Health, Pregnancy

What are the Symptoms and Causes of Premature Birth?

What are the Symptoms and Causes of Premature Birth

Some babies may not wait for their due date and may be born prematurely. So why does preterm birth happen? What are the symptoms of preterm birth and how can they be understood? You can find all the questions on the subject in this article!

What is preterm birth?

To answer this question, you need to know the timing of a so-called "normal" birth. Normal birth is a birth that takes place between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy.

Consequently, a birth that starts before 37 weeks is called preterm or premature. Let us explain why we say "beginning": When contractions open the cervix before the end of the 37th week of pregnancy, it is considered preterm birth.

What causes premature birth?

What causes premature birth

The cause of preterm birth is often not known exactly. Sometimes preterm birth can occur even if there are no risk factors. What are the possible causes of preterm birth, and what triggers preterm birth during pregnancy? we have listed for you.

  • Previously, experiencing premature labor pains and giving birth prematurely
  • Triplets or twins,
  • Excess amniotic fluid (hydramnios),
  • Placenta problems,
  • Uterine abnormality,
  • Smoking, alcohol and drug use,
  • Too low weight or too high weight gain,
  • Malnutrition,
  • Other infections (sexually transmitted diseases, urinary tract infections, infection of the amniotic fluid or fetal membranes),
  • Cervical insufficiency,
  • Diabetes in the mother,
  • An open cervix,
  • Preeclampsia,
  • Getting pregnant under 17 or over 35.
  • Depression.

Each of these is a risk factor, remember. It does not necessarily mean that your baby will be born prematurely because you have these conditions or that you will not give birth to a premature baby because you do not have any of them. By the way, the risk of premature birth is also higher in IVF.

However, let's also answer the question of whether lifting heavy during pregnancy causes premature birth. Although many expectant mothers are afraid of lifting heavy during pregnancy, lifting heavy does not cause miscarriage or premature birth.

Signs of premature birth

  • Cramps similar to menstrual bleeding,
  • Regular contractions that continue to increase in intensity and frequency even if you change position,
  • Pressure in the back,
  • Unusual pressure in the pelvis,
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding,
  • Rupture of membranes (membranes),
  • Ultrasound shows changes in the cervix, such as thinning, dilation, or shortening,
  • Increased urination,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Watery discharge from the vagina.


If you have watery discharge, this may be a sign that the membranes surrounding the fetus have ruptured and water has broken.

Bloody or dark discharge can be a sign that the mucus that accumulates in the cervix during pregnancy, the mucoid plug, has become dislodged.

If you have any doubts about what you are feeling - especially if you feel pain or cramping in your abdomen with vaginal cramping - you should definitely see a doctor.

At what week is preterm birth?

At what week is preterm birth

Any birth that occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy is called preterm birth. If you ask how many weeks of gestation is the earliest birth, it should be noted that births after the 20th week of pregnancy are also considered premature births.

You may wonder if premature birth is dangerous. Especially for babies born before the 32nd week, the risk to life can be high. Let's tell you how many months a baby born at the earliest can live. Babies born after 34 weeks have a better chance of survival.

How can preterm birth be detected?

Imagine you go to the hospital with contractions and worry that your baby might be born prematurely. What awaits you, are you really at risk of preterm birth?

  1.  If you have premature contractions and the fetus is not damaged, the cervix is checked to see if it has opened.
  2.  If the cervix remains unchanged but the contractions continue, a fetal fibronectin test is performed (fetal fibronectin is a type of glue that binds the uterine wall and the membranes surrounding the baby).
  3. If fetal fibronectin is not detected in the cervical sample, it is very unlikely that the contractions will result in preterm labor in the next week.

What can be done to prevent premature birth?

Not all preterm births are caused by preventable risk factors, so it is not possible to prevent them all. But there are still things you can do. Let's see what you can do to prevent preterm birth:

  • Taking folic acid before getting pregnant,
  • Regular medical check-ups from the beginning of pregnancy,
  • Drink plenty of fluids,
  • Eat well,
  • Oral and dental care,
  • Abstaining from smoking, alcohol, and drugs,
  • Get tested for infections,
  • Not being on your feet too much, not getting tired, and having a stress-free pregnancy.

Those who have given birth prematurely and those with a short cervix are also advised to use progesterone supplements (in the form of gels or injections) in daily or weekly doses. But of course, this is for your doctor to decide.

Recent research recommends that women who have already given birth before 35 weeks should get 17 injections of the hormone hydroxyprogesterone once a week to help prevent premature birth again. You can also ask your doctor about this.

How long can premature birth be postponed?

How long can premature birth be postponed

If preterm labor is detected early enough, birth can be prevented or delayed in some patients. However, there is no definite time frame. Since every day the baby spends in the womb increases its chances of survival and good health, interventions can be used to delay the birth.

  • If the contractions start early, your doctor may prescribe bed rest or admit you to the hospital for intravenous fluids (the more water you have in your body, the less likely it is that the contractions will continue. Therefore, you should drink plenty of water at home, even when you are resting).
  • Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if he thinks it was an infection that started labor.
  • Your doctor may prescribe tocolytic drugs such as terbutaline or magnesium sulfate to temporarily stop the contractions.
  • If premature birth cannot be prevented, steroids may also be given to help the lungs develop quickly so that the baby can live more comfortably.
  • If at any time the doctor thinks that continuing the pregnancy is riskier than preterm delivery, he or she will not attempt to delay the birth.

Learn what you need to know about premature baby care now:

What should you do when going into preterm labor?

Expert Psychologist offers suggestions that will help the emotional turmoil experienced by mothers who are hospitalized with the risk of preterm birth.

Breath: Control your breathing. The best way is to count it. This way you can calm yourself down. Close your eyes, breathe in deeply and calmly on the count of 3, and out again on the count of 6. Another method is to breathe in deeply for an odd number of breaths and out slowly for an even number.

Vision: What you picture in your mind about the possibility of a premature baby will most likely be negative. It is up to you to turn it into a positive. Close your eyes, imagine a peaceful birth, and imagine holding your baby after birth. How does it smell, how does it look, what are its hands like? Come on, invite beautiful images into your mind.

Distribute your attention: Choose an object. Start saying the concrete features of the object quickly. Do not include abstract features or questions. For example, let's say you choose a pencil. Use continuous sentences like "This is a pencil, it is a long pencil, it is a round pencil, the eraser is hard."

Transforming expectations: Imagine expectations as flying balloons. With each expectation, a balloon appears in your hand, and when it is met, you can let it go. If it is not met, it stays in your hand and causes you pain. Then you need to transform the expectation. Hope this information will help you. Put your hand where you feel hope in your body, listen to it and let your hopeful side help you transform your expectations.

Note: The information contained in this content is in no way a substitute for medical advice!!

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