Premature Birth Frequency and Treatment

Premature BirthPremature birth is the birth that begins before the scheduled date and ends with the birth of a premature infant (which is less than 37 weeks old). If a newborn is considerably lighter than normal weight and is born within the scheduled time, such birth is not considered premature, but is the result of a fetal growth restriction.

Severe preeclampsia and eclampsia cause about 30% of all premature births. High blood pressure, placenta previa and several other causes are likely to contribute to this percentage increase.

Frequency

About 5% of pregnancies end with premature birth, and in half of these cases the cause is unknown.

Dangers

The earlier the baby is born (before the scheduled date), its chances of survival are lower. Newborns who survive are threated by risk of pulmonary syndrome of the newborn and neonatal jaundice. Of course, these dangers are bigger than birth earlier.

What to do?

If you think that your premature birth begins (about the symptoms of childbirth, see childbirth article), contact your doctor immediately. If you are unable to get a doctor right away, call the emergency to take you to the maternity hospital as soon as possible. At the hospital, the doctor will examine you to determine if the childbirth really started because the pregnant woman often has a ”fake” contractions (false labor).

Treatment

If the obstetrician finds out that you are in early stage of childbirth, he will give you a cure for cervical muscle relaxation and thus prevent delivery. If he decides to perform a delivery, the obstetrician will probably do episiotomy to allow the child’s head to pass freely. He may also apply forceps to protect the infant’s head. After that, an infant will be placed in an incubator where he will recieve oxygen, be constantly at a certain temperature and where he will, if necessary, recieve food with a probe that is pulled through the throat into the stomach.