7 Common Things That Can Cause Premature Birth

One in seven babies is born preterm (15% of all births) in South Africa alone.


WomensHealth |

Some of these reasons you will know and some might shock you…

Late or Inadequate Antenatal Care

The recommended number of visits during pregnancy in South Africa is four, according to the Health SA Gesondheid Journal of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences. Studies have found that 92% of SA women attend their first antenatal visit late during their pregnancy- in their third trimester; whilst some only attend one during their entire pregnancy…don’t be one of them.

It is a vital service which is necessary for identification of complications, danger signs, screening and treatment. It ensures that your baby’s health is up to standard.

In some cases, antenatal care is often unavailable and only provided on certain days which would make it difficult to attend. Overcrowding and long waiting periods in public hospitals.

Hypertension

High blood pressure is defined as blood pressure higher than 140/90mm Hg. A number of factors come into play such as your age, weight, how active you are and whether it’s your first pregnancy. High blood pressure has an effect on the baby’s growth rate, which could result in a low birth weight or preterm delivery (prior to 38 weeks).

Diabetes

Known as a silent killer, it’s a metabolic disorder that results in your body’s inability to produce or use insulin properly. When you’re pregnant, your body becomes more resistant to insulin so that more glucose is used to nourish your baby. About 5 to 10 percent of all pregnant women get gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes could cause you to go into labour early.

Watch: How To Prevent Post- Baby Weight Gain

Pre-eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy if your blood pressure is normal. Pre-eclampsia occurs when a high level of protein is found in your urine, which is usually accompanied by swelling in the feet, leg and hands. If your blood pressure does not drop and there are still traces of protein in your urine, a preterm birth could occur.

Older-First Time Mothers

Nearly one in five births occur to women over the age of 35 but it could also result in a preterm birth.

Assisted Fertilisation

Yes, even assisted fertilisation can result in a preterm birth, methods such as intrauterine insemination, IVF, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, donated sperm, and donated eggs/embryos often results in multiple pregnancies which carries an increased risk of premature births.

Infected Gums

Odd…but having infected gums could lead to a preterm delivery, when infected your gums produce prostaglandins (the same hormones that initiate labour). So be sure to visit your dentist at least once during your pregnancy and brush those pearly whites twice a day.

Lynne Bluff, a baby and childbirth educator, registered nurse and midwife says that, “it is important to note that in the majority of premature births, there is nothing a mom could have done to prevent it from occurring. “

Looking for more info? Here are 17 weird things that can mess with your fertility

Watch ON: Health Health Advice Parenting Pregnancy