Although it is said that prevention is better than cure, avoiding a premature birth is to some extent beyond the control of the expecting parents and doctors. This is because one; it is not easy to predict when it will happen and two; doctors do not fully understand why it happens. However, there are behaviors and health conditions that increase the chances of a premature birth. Here are some ways that can see you reduce the chances of having a preemie birth.
#1. Eat healthy balanced diet
Most of the complications that take place in our bodies are due to lack of enough nutrients to carry out all the necessary body functions as required. To avoid such, it is of prime importance to always eat a balanced diet. Consuming enough iron and folic acid lowers the chances of a premature birth and prevents some birth defects.
#2. Maintain a healthy body weight
Being overweight or underweight has been proven over and over again to be a leading cause for many diseases and health complications. If you are overweight or obese, it is advisable to lose the excess weight. On the other hand, if you are underweight you should work towards gaining some weight. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the chances of a premature birth. Exercising for 30 minutes on a daily basis among other things can help in maintaining a healthy body weight.
#3. Avoid alcohol and substance abuse
Alcohol and substance or drug abuse is known to be one of the leading factors in causing premature births. Also ensure that you avoid second hand smoke from cigarettes and tobacco. In case you are on any medication or addicted to drugs and alcohol, make sure you inform your doctor so as to get proper assistance.
#4. Control chronic diseases
In case you are suffering from chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, an autoimmune disease or diabetes just to name a few, get them under control. Working closely with your doctor will ensure that you carry your pregnancy to term successfully. If by any chance an emergency arises, then you will get quick medical attention hence reducing chances of a premature birth.
#5. Start prenatal care early enough
If you had experienced a premature birth before or had any other reproductive health issues, then it is advisable to start your prenatal care early enough. Take your partner to prenatal visits if you can. This is essential in providing the necessary support during your pregnancy. He may also get answers to questions that you might otherwise not be able to answer or explain. This reduces stress in the relationship.
Signs of an impending premature birth
If you experience some of the listed symptoms below between week 20 and week 37 of your pregnancy, then you could be having a preemie birth.
- Frequent and regular abdominal tightening or contractions
- Any amount of bleeding
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Fluid or water leakage
- Increased pressure in the lower abdomen
- Pelvic sensations
- Mild abdominal cramps
- A dull and constant backache
The best thing to do at this point is to immediately call your doctor or prenatal health care provider for a proper medical checkup and treatment.
Having said that, having a premature birth may have no reason or cause at all. It is good to know that whatever happens, you should not take it hard on yourself. Instead, focus on taking one thing at a time and stay positive.