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Premature Birth

A typical pregnancy lasts for nine months or 40 weeks before labor and childbirth. A woman, especially one who is giving birth for the first time, may deliver her baby a few days after the due date or even two to three weeks before the due date. But if a pregnant woman is about to give birth more than three weeks before the predicted day that the baby is due, then she is giving a premature birth.

Signs of a premature birth?

A woman having a premature birth will experience signs that she is about to go into labor, months before the baby is expected to come out.

Some of the signs are:

* increased pelvic pressure which can become painful
* a throbbing ache in the lower back
* bleeding or spotting
* having a watery discharge
* experiencing more than six contractions within one hour

Doctors advise that when such signs show up, it is more prudent for a woman to get immediate medical help, rather than being described as overly concerned about her pregnancy.

The medical field is better equipped to handle premature birth nowadays than decades ago, when premature birth often leads to the death of the baby. But this does not mean that premature babies face lesser risks. Due to incomplete or interrupted development inside the womb, premature births always place the babies at risk of respiratory problems and cerebral bleeding. The lungs of premature babies are in danger of collapsing as soon as they come out and this is a major concern of doctors.

A woman who has had a premature birth in the past is most at risk in having another premature birth.

Other risk factors that have been associated with premature births.

* obesity
* stress
* infections
* multiple-baby pregnancy
* diabetes
* a previous history of abortions and miscarriage
* smoking
* alcohol abuse

Related links

Alcohol and Premature Birth
What about genetic birth defects?
Bleeding after childbirth   


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