Premature birth precautions
Ways to avoid premature birth before time and handling premature delivery:
- How early is premature?:
- Premature with many possible complications: Child born before 32 weeks.
- Premature with minimal complications: Child born between 32 and 37 weeks.
- Normal: If the child is born after 37 weeks.
- How to know if the mother is at risk for preterm delivery: Risk is high if the mother experiences symptoms like high blood pressure/sugar, frequent urinary tract infections (UTI), underweight before pregnancy, bleeding from vagina or little gap between 2 pregnancies.
- What are the symptoms of premature birth: Symptoms include change in vaginal discharge, contractions every 10 minutes, backache and abdominal cramps.
- Premature birth reasons: It could happen due to high blood pressure, anemia, history of abortion/miscarriage, thyroid, uterus problem, diabetes or hormonal deficiency. Smoking (including second hand smoke) and alcohol also increase the risk of premature birth.
- Plan your pregnancy(Vaccine/Vitamin): Rubella vaccine to the mother is recommended 3 months before pregnancy- to save the newborn child from congenital deformities like blindness, deafness, retarded mental growth and heart problems. 'Folic acid vitamin' is also advised to the mother to be taken three months before pregnancy and continue throughout pregnancy for normal child growth.
- Premature Delivery Problems: In the short term, respiratory/breathing problem due to under-developed lungs and feeding/unable to digest milk problem soon after birth. In the long term, chronic health problems like poor IQ level, blood pressure, vision or hearing problems.
- How to minimize 'Premature Delivery' problems: Mother must give breast milk to the newborn child for boosting immunity. To avoid infection during first 3 months, ensure extreme hand cleanliness when touching the baby and politely ask outside people not to touch the baby without any reason.
- Regular Checkups: Once every month during pregnancy or as advised by your doctor to avoid complications.
Plan your pregnancy before 30:
- Older mothers are at higher pregnancy risks.
- There is a gradual decrease in fertility after the age of 30.
- Experts suggest 20 to 29 as the correct age for pregnancy.
- Avoid late marriage & pregnancy to avoid unnecessary complications.
Cesarean or Normal Delivery
Cesarean or Normal Delivery:
- Normal Delivery: Involves momentary pain 'during' labor and recovery from 'normal/vaginal' delivery takes about 3 to 7 days.
- Cesarean Delivery: No pain during labor but abdominal pains last about 3 to 4 weeks. Recovery time is longer.
- Some women decide for cesarean delivery to avoid going through labor pains. But there are 2 critical drawbacks: Cesarean involves far more pain lasting upto a month after delivery and tendency to retain weight gained during pregnancy. Natural birth is always the best option.
- Pregnancy education helps in getting more relaxed/comfortable and in avoiding painful cesarean delivery. So read such articles frequently to stay focused.
- Talk to people/doctor who have gone through this stage, attend pregnancy classes like Lamaze or from other certified professionals.
Find the right doctor and hospital carefully:
- Ask for feedback. Go for a doctor whose yearly cesarean rate in practice is less than 20%.
- Its important to 'feel' comfortable with your doctor so that you have a good delivery on time.
- Let your doctor know of your intention to have normal pregnancy before the pain starts.
- If you doctor says you need a Cesarean, ask questions to clear your doubts.
- If Cesarean is suggested due to medical reasons, do not negotiate during emergency situations.
Focus on balanced diet during pregnancy tenure:
- Add more proteins, carbohydrate and vitamins in your daily intake.
- Take appropriate amount of salt and include fish, cereals, milk and fruits.
- Avoid too much fat in food, to avoid the possibility of the baby gaining more weight in the womb.
- Exercise to strengthen the pelvic muscles so that there are more chances of vaginal/normal delivery.
- Ayurveda: Offers some things which you may follow to increase the chances of normal delivery:
a) When you start feeling labor pains, have couple spoons of honey.
b) Some experts recommend drinking milk boiled with garlic paste daily from 7th month.
c) Boil 'roasted anise seed' (choti saunf) in water and drink it from 9th month.
- For important additional diet precautions during pregnancy: Click here
Get enough support during pregnancy and for labor / delivery:
- Support and encouragement from your loved ones is necessary and comforting.
- Place: During pregnancy, be at a place where 'you' like to be.
- People: Spend most of the pregnancy time with people who make you comfortable/happy.
- Do things you like doing. Pregnancy can be a wonderful experience if you handle it effectively.
Avoid unnatural labor induction:
- Induction is a process by which labour is induced artificially in the mother. Some experts feel that 40 to 50% C-sections could have been avoided by having a normal vaginal delivery.
- Do not perform induction for simple reasons like, your husband will not be in town on the due date.
- Avoid induction unless your doctor suggests it for medical reasons. Let nature take its own course.
Preparing for time of delivery in the labor room
- Prepare yourself to cope with the natural pain during pregnancy. Think how you can reduce your anxiety.
- Its simple to say, but try your best to just relax. Some soft music in the delivery room should help.
- Position: Prefer positions that utilize gravity. Sometimes, changing the position makes a huge difference. Listen to your doctor when they advise you better labor positions.
- Follow breathing techniques as learnt in pregnancy classes. Keep your jawbones lose to keep your cervix open.
- Relax during contraction. Attending pregnancy classes during the pregnancy stage will help you deal with this.