My daughter was born four weeks prematurely. I started to feel signs of preterm labor — contractions, pressure, and back pain — around 32 weeks, and was given a medicine to help stop my contractions and was put on modified bed rest. Four weeks later, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl. My daughter was lucky because, unlike many preemies, she didn't have to visit the NICU. Still, the cause of my preterm labor was never established and because there are risks that come with being a preemie, and you might be wondering how to reduce your baby's risk of being born prematurely.
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), the most common complications associated with preterm birth are immature lungs, respiratory distress syndrome (harsh irregular breathing), bronchopulmonary dysplasia (lung deterioration), transient tachypnea (rapid shallow breathing), pneumonia, apnea and bradycardia (absence of breathing, reduction of heart rate), infections, jaundice, intraventricular hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain), inability to maintain body heat, immature gastrointestinal and digestive system, anemia, retinopathy of prematurity (a potentially blinding eye disorder), sepsis (bacteria in the bloodstream), and infection in the bowel wall. Clearly, a preterm birth comes with many risks.
Though it can be hard to predict the outcome of a pregnancy, there are some thing you can do to reduce the risk of a premature birth. Here are some ways to reduce your baby's risk of being born prematurely.