The threat and causes of preterm birth – symptoms, signs and prevention

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If the pregnancy for a woman ends earlier than the period prescribed by the doctor, and the baby is born, premature birth occurs. The degree of threat to the health of a new person depends entirely on the number of obstetric weeks, how much the mother carried the baby under the heart. It is important to recognize the potential causes of preterm birth in order to avoid such a sudden delivery and its dangerous consequences for children’s health in the future..

What is preterm birth

Labor activity completed by delivery earlier than 38 obstetric weeks characterizes pathological labor. For health, crumbs are a pathological process, however, thanks to modern technology, doctors have learned to look after children who have been born since 28 obstetric weeks and beyond. However, health problems can still not be avoided, because the fetus has not yet fully completed its intrauterine development. Therefore, if there is a threat of premature birth, a pregnant woman is urgently put on conservation.


The longer the baby stays in the mother’s womb, the greater the chance of him being born strong and healthy. However, the situations are different, and it is not necessary to exclude cases when a woman does not take care of the period established by the gynecologist for pregnancy. The characteristic signs of preterm birth are not much different from natural labor, and the first harbinger is leakage of amniotic fluid.

Since the baby in the second half of pregnancy is characterized by increased physical activity, diagnosis can be difficult. However, an alert future mom should pay attention to the following alarming symptoms:

  • increased tone of the uterus during palpation;
  • drawing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen;
  • constant fetal activity;
  • frequent urination;
  • pulling sensation of the lumbar region;
  • bursting sensation of the vaginal area.

Pregnant girl

How do they start

If there is a pulling pain in the lower abdomen, while a woman detects leakage of amniotic fluid, it is necessary to immediately call an ambulance or immediately contact a local gynecologist with a complaint. Early labor can cause a miscarriage, which should not be allowed under any circumstances. Early childbirth begins with a sharp abdominal pain, which only intensifies in different positions of the body. Pregnancy is at risk, and it’s better for a woman to agree to hospitalization.


Most expectant mothers are asked the main question, how to avoid premature birth. In fact, the first step is to find out in detail why this pathological process is progressing, and how to reduce the risk of untimely birth of crumbs into the world. The specialist informs about this even when planning pregnancy in order to save a woman from subsequent problems during 40 obstetric weeks. In modern obstetric practice, the following causes of preterm birth are distinguished:

  • previous abortions, instrumental cleaning of the uterine cavity;
  • abuse of bad habits;
  • infection of the cervix and vagina;
  • rhesus conflict;
  • polyhydramnios and multiple pregnancy;
  • premature aging or detachment of the placenta;
  • pelvic presentation of the fetus;
  • intrauterine infections;
  • fetal gene mutations;
  • antiphospholipid syndrome;
  • severe forms of gestosis;
  • rupture of membranes;
  • isthmic-cervical insufficiency;
  • excessive sexual activity;
  • the presence of latent urinary tract infections;
  • diabetes during pregnancy;
  • thyroid pathology in a future mother;
  • preeclampsia;
  • multiple pregnancy (twins);
  • female inflammation during pregnancy;
  • uterine bleeding.

Pregnant girl at the doctor’s appointment


Early delivery is not considered a disease, but the general condition of the newborn is completely dependent on the time of early delivery. If it was not possible to convey the child to 40 obstetric weeks, the conditional classification is presented below, which gives at least a distant idea of ​​the degree of the pathological process and potential diseases in a person who has been born:

  1. Very early birth. Premature appearance of crumbs falls on a period of 22-27 weeks. The weight of the fetus varies between 500 – 1,000 g, the doctor diagnoses the underdevelopment of internal organs and systems, problems with the opening of the lungs.
  2. Early birth. Premature birth of a child occurs for a period of 28-33 weeks. The child weighs up to 2 kg, while the natural ventilation of the lungs is disturbed, the circulatory system is imperfect.
  3. Although premature births at 34-37 obstetric weeks are considered pathological, they reassure parents because all internal organs and systems have already been formed. The newborn weighs about 2,500 g.

Indications for preterm labor

In practice, there are cases when doctors consciously insist on premature, rapid stimulation of labor. The need for this arises in the diagnosis of extensive pathologies in the body of a mother or child. In addition, the lives of both may be at risk. Such critical points are the detection of the following pathologies:

  • decompensated endogenous diseases of a complicated form, fraught with death for the patient;
  • preeclampsia and eclampsia, as a manifestation of severe gestosis, fraught with the inevitable death of the baby;
  • extensive liver pathologies in pregnant women, when the natural outflow of bile is pathologically disturbed;
  • diagnosis in the body of a pregnant woman of HELLP syndrome with increased activity of liver enzymes;
  • intrauterine malformations incompatible with further viability of the fetus;
  • fetal death, fraught with infection and blood poisoning of a pregnant woman.

How to call

If a pathology or the presence of one of the above pathological factors is suspected, the pregnant woman is taken to the hospital. When determining the diagnosis and the need to stimulate childbirth prematurely, doctors use separate medications that are customarily injected into the vagina intraamniotic. In this case, we are talking about the following medicines: the synthetic hormone Mifepristone complex with Misoprostol, Oxytocin, Dinoprostone and Dinoprost. Superficial self-treatment is contraindicated, since a high probability of death of the mother and child.


With an internal deviation of the intrauterine development of the fetus, labor can begin earlier than the period specified by the doctor. The uterine hypertonicity, the discharge of amniotic fluid, the expansion of the cervical genital organ and the acute pain syndrome attacking the mother’s consciousness with cyclical attacks are prompting such thoughts. An additional examination method is ultrasound, which determines the condition and position of the fetus in the womb. Before stopping acute pain, the doctor may order a special test to confirm the onset of labor.

Pregnant girl on ultrasound


A special test system called Actim Partus reliably determines the binding insulin-like growth factor – 1 (CIPFR) in the mucus of the cervical canal. The enzyme in a large concentration is produced by the fetal membranes of the embryo a few days before the birth. Such a laboratory study can only be carried out in a hospital, since it is not possible to organize the collection of material in a home environment without special equipment and tools.

How to prevent

Since at an early stage the baby will be born prematurely, with low body weight and extensive lesions of the internal organs, the doctor’s task is to stop the delivery of premature births with the help of medications, alternative methods can also be used. Since labor can begin at any time, the woman first needs to be hospitalized, then examined, and then prescribed effective treatment, left under strict medical supervision. If you act wisely, the baby can be born right on time, without pathologies.

Dexamethasone for threatened preterm birth

To prevent the development of respiratory distress syndrome, doctors use synthetic glucocorticosteroids. With the threat of early childbirth, the drug Dexamethasone for intramuscular administration has proven itself well. It is allowed to use it strictly for medical reasons at an obstetric period of 24 to 34 weeks. There are two schemes for the use of this drug:

  • 12 mg twice over 24 hours;
  • 6 mg per 4 visits throughout the day.

Conservative treatment in a hospital

The definition of the complex treatment regimen is carried out individually – according to medical indications after identifying the root cause (pathogenic factor) of the progressing pathology. Doctors in conditions of compulsory hospitalization to ensure positive dynamics and prolong pregnancy term unite representatives of different pharmacological groups:

  • antispasmodic drugs intramuscularly or rectally: No-shpa, Drotaverin, Papaverine;
  • adrenergic agonists for intravenous administration: Ritodrin, Terbutaline, Ginipral;
  • NSAIDs rectally: Indomethacin from 32 weeks of gestation;
  • glucocorticosteroids, gestagens orally or intramuscularly: Progesterone, Utrozhestan, Dexamethasone.

Management of preterm birth

In order to avoid potential complications with children’s health, intensive care should be carried out in a hospital. A positive result will definitely be, if you strictly follow all medical prescriptions. There are several methods to combat such a global violation, it all depends on the general condition of the patient, the fetus. Below are a few effective tactics that are chosen by a doctor based on the complexity of a particular clinical picture:

  1. Expectant Tactics. A woman is provided with peace – physical and emotional, give soothing decoctions, use mild sedatives and antispasmodics.
  2. Active tactics. If the neck will open 3 cm or more, doctors use epidural analgesia or Partusisten is drip..

Pregnant girl and doctor

Consequences for mother and baby

For a woman, the consequences of preterm labor are not so significant, more associated with the physiological characteristics of the female body. For example, the crotch may tear, or the doctor performs a cesarean section with further suturing. But for an infant, the consequences of premature birth may seem fatal. It all depends on the term of delivery. As an option:

  • severe birth injuries;
  • congenital diseases;
  • early mortality.

Pregnancy after childbirth

After a pathological birth, the woman’s body should recover properly, so it is certainly not recommended to rush to re-conceive. Doctors advise to see a gynecologist for a year, undergo a full medical examination, treat latent diseases (if any) in a timely manner, and then think about another replenishment of the family.


In order to avoid difficult decisions and dangerous consequences for the baby’s health, it is necessary to take a responsible period of pregnancy planning and to undergo a full medical examination in a timely manner. If a successful conception has already occurred, it is important:

  • get registered in time for pregnancy;
  • eliminate bad habits;
  • take vitamins;
  • beware of taking certain medications;
  • eat properly and fully;
  • regularly go for an ultrasound scan;
  • guard against infectious and viral diseases.
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