It truly is an inexplicable yet wonderful feeling to know that your precious little baby is about to see the world. In a span of nine months, your motherhood will be more than just the books you read but a reality beyond what you could ever imagine. But now, two months behind your expected date of delivery, you felt a different kind of a pain in your belly, something kicked in, and your water broke; it was a premature birth.
Could it have been possibly prevented?
According to National Center for Health Statistics, there has been one in eight live births in a year that goes through a premature birth or a delivery that takes place before 37 weeks of pregnancy. This has occurred on first-time moms and even those who have had pregnancies before. Though there have been a lot of beliefs about premature birth over the years, a number of studies ruled out the potential risks, the pregnancy complications, and the preventions you can do.
Causes and Prevention
There are a lot of factors that contribute to the complications of pregnancy that may result in premature birth. Though the major risk factors may include health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, infections, and problems to the uterus and cervix, there might be underlying causes that may lead to premature birth. History of pregnancy complications, having a premature birth before, age, the lifestyle, habits, and diet may also increase the risk.
There are a lot of causes and reasons that you can consider but do know that the results of pregnancy always vary and can sometimes be unpredictable. Taking necessary precautions is vital to prevent the risks of premature delivery. A change in diet, lifestyle, and prenatal care can make a huge difference that can either cause a positive or negative effect on you and your baby. The good news is: there are preventive measures you can apply to reduce the risk of premature birth.
What You Can Do
The first key to a healthy pregnancy is a healthy lifestyle. Bad habits such as smoking and drinking can lead to premature birth and other pregnancy complications. If you are used to doing such habits, it definitely won’t be easy to give them up. However, to ensure your baby’s health and prevent the risk of premature birth, it is best to quit smoking and drinking immediately.
Smoking one cigarette brings about thousands of chemicals that can definitely be toxic to your body. And if you are pregnant while keeping this bad habit, you are putting your baby at a greater risk. The same thing when you’re drinking alcoholic beverages. You may think it will be fine if you only drink moderately, but there is no definite level of safe consumption. A few drinks or even one shot can be dangerous to your pregnancy. That’s why it would be best to not drink alcohol at all while pregnant.
2. Watch Your Weight
Another preventive measure you can do is to monitor your weight while pregnant. Inevitably, expecting mothers have to deal with their weight and be fully aware of the changes. Some mothers gain too much weight while the others are under the recommended weight for pregnant women. However, a change in your weight can greatly affect your pregnancy and get over or under the recommended weight might increase the risk of premature birth.
3. Consult Your Gynecologist for Prenatal Care
Early prenatal care is a must. And the best person to seek help from is your gynecologist. Although you may have done your part and make some research about the proper care or changes that you have to apply in your lifestyle or diet, your gynecologist is in the best position to tell what you should and shouldn’t do.
It is also not advisable to take some pills or vitamins that you think is good for you and the baby. You have to consult your gynecologist first to know the medications that are safe for your pregnancy.
4. Take Good Care of Your Dental Health
It may not seem correlated to your pregnancy but any infections or gum diseases that you acquire can result in pregnancy complications such as premature birth. Hence, it is important that you visit your dentist for proper dental health care. Due to hormonal changes, pregnant women become more vulnerable to gingivitis and if not treated immediately, may lead to possible risks of gum diseases.
A study conducted by the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania shows that dental health care causes a massive effect on pregnancy. The risk of premature births was minimized by 84% when those pregnant women underwent a comprehensive dental care. So, if you want to reduce the risk of premature birth, dental check-ups would be the best way to go. Flossing and brushing will also make a difference in your dental care routine.
5. Stay Physically Active
There are physical activities that you can try while pregnant unless your doctor tells you not to. It all depends on your health condition during pregnancy. Some expecting moms are advised not to engage in physical activities and just rest at home due to certain reasons.
Physical activities and exercise can improve your overall health and thus prevent the risk of premature birth. But, of course, you should not exhaust yourself while doing all of these. A nice walk would do. It should be fun, safe, and relaxing as well. Just make sure you’re wearing the right gear such as pregnancy shoes and pregnancy fitness clothes to make you feel more comfortable.
6. Give Yourself Enough Rest
Too much rest is as bad as not taking a rest at all. You can be one of those preggy moms who keep on doing the household chores and making everything in the house clean and organized or the one who likes to lie down on the couch or bed all day. Both cases have their pitfalls.
You should not tire yourself out with all the mommy duties at home. You may ask your kids or husband to assist you and help you accomplish all the other chores. There should always be a time for rest. However, your baby bump can make you feel uncomfortable. But to ease such discomfort and pain, you can opt for a pregnancy pillow. There are sizes and shape that can provide the comfort you need.
On the other hand, giving yourself some rest doesn’t mean you have to lie down on the bed or couch all day. Immobility won’t be very helpful for your joints, muscles, and overall health. That is why you should be balanced in taking a rest and engaging in physical activities.
Pregnancy is a whole new journey to motherhood; a delicate phase in a woman’s life that should be provided with the utmost care and attention. Unfortunately, unhealthy lifestyle, diet, and certain health conditions may cause complications such as premature birth. Although this may cause distress and frustration to all the expecting moms, there are ways that you can do to prevent premature birth and keep your pregnancy healthy.
Regular checkups are a must. If you want to keep yourself and your baby healthy, it is best to visit your gynecologist regularly for prenatal care. Don’t skip your appointments!