What exactly is prematurity?
A “premature” child is called one who is born before 37 weeks of gestation or WA (since the first day of the last menstrual period), compared to 39 to 41 WA for a normal pregnancy.
Premature babies can be classified into three categories:
- from 33 to 37 SA, it is a medium prematurity which happens most often today. The baby seems more fragile, but does not require great care, just important monitoring by the maternity pediatrician. The vital prognosis is not engaged, but it is still placed in an incubator to be better protected;
- from 28 to 32 SA, it is a very premature baby. These babies require specific neonatal care (maternity level 2 or 3). Medical assistance is in place because their organs are still too immature.
- from 24 to 28 weeks, babies are called “Very premature babies”. In maternity level 3, they are directly placed in intensive care. They have no autonomy. The birth weight is important. We consider that the limit of viability is between 500 and 600 grams.
What are the causes of premature labor?
There are several causes that can cause premature labor. If either of these applies to you, don’t panic, as it is quite possible that your pregnancy will come to an end. Some of the medical causes include:
- rupture of membranes due to infections of the cervix and / or vagina and causing early rupture of the water bag;
- uterine malformations ;
- abnormal insertion of the placenta ;
- diseases like diabetes or toxemia also called eclampsia (due to high blood pressure during pregnancy) are also responsible for premature deliveries.
Are there women or situations at risk?
Apart from medical causes, there are aggravating factors that can give birth to a premature baby.
First of all there is the age of the woman, the higher it is, the greater the risk. Multiple pregnancies also rarely come to term.
As for tobacco use during pregnancy, it triples the prematurity rate. We also know that alcohol can disrupt the neurological development of your unborn baby, but it also increases premature deliveries.
Other situations, such as the fatigue accumulated during difficult working conditions or exhausting housework, favor them.
How is a premature birth detected?
Uterine contractions are the sign of a threat of premature labor. The woman feels a sensation of tension in the uterus which lasts about thirty seconds. The stomach hardens.
These pains are like period pain. They are abnormal if they are repeated regularly within ten minutes of each other. Rest immediately and be taken to the maternity hospital where you are due to give birth. The doctor will check your cervix. If it has shortened or opened a little, the delivery could take place prematurely.
Is it possible to prevent premature births?
The goal is to keep the pregnancy as long as possible. For that, complete rest, medication to stop uterine labor, and possibly hospitalization may be necessary. It is quite possible, suddenly, to arrive at a delivery close to the term.
The doctor can also decide, in case of too wide opening of the cervix (open bite), to carry out a strapping. Under general anesthesia, a very strong thread is passed to close the cervix.
Whatever happens, there is no point in blaming yourself. In 30% of cases, it is not known why the child is born prematurely.