Prematurity Day: Is it possible to prevent premature childbirth?

Prematurity Day: Is it possible to prevent premature childbirth?

Here is how you can increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. 

Newborn/ iStock

Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death among children under five years of age, reports the World Health Organisation

However, the organisation states that three-quarters of those deaths could be prevented with current, cost-effective interventions.

But before we get to the preventative measures, it's important to know that premature birth may not always be prevented.

'Babies may be born preterm because of spontaneous preterm labour or because there is a medical indication to plan an induction of labour or caesarean birth early,' states the WHO. 

The organisation adds that: 'Most preterm births happen spontaneously, but some are due to medical reasons such as infections, or other pregnancy complications that require early induction of labour or caesarean birth.'

Dr Salome Lelaka, a pediatrician at Life Carstenhof Hospital, says there might be conditions outside the control of the mother that can result in premature births. 

"The cause of prematurity includes conditions that affect the mother for example high blood pressure in pregnancy fetus, multiple pregnancy or the conditions in the womb-like infection often referred as Chorioamnionitis," says Dr Lelaka. 

She also says pregnant women need to manage their stress levels. 

"Stress has shown even in studies that it generally increases your Blood pressure and anxiety level as a result that may affect your blood pressure levels during pregnancy and subsequent premature delivery," says Dr Lelaka. 

READ: A global call to offer support to premature babies

Is it possible to prevent premature childbirth?

Having a healthy pregnancy is the first step in ensuring that the chances of premature birth are decreased. 

"It is highly recommended that every pregnant lady must go for their antenatal classes and those that have high risk to even consult early in pregnancy, if not before they fall pregnant, with their respective Gynaecologists," says Dr Lelaka. 

She adds that pregnant women should eat a balance diet.

"Don’t drink or smoke. Avoid recreational drugs. Adhere to your chronic medication," says the Dr. 

The World Health Organisation also advises that "if a woman experiences preterm labour or is at risk of preterm childbirth, treatments are available to help protect the preterm baby from future neurological impairment as well as difficulties with breathing and infection. These include antenatal steroids and tocolytic treatments to delay labour." 

READ: Parenting 101: Doctor shares tips for new mothers taking care of premature babies

More From Jacaranda FM

Follow us on social media:

· Facebook

· Twitter

· Instagram

· YouTube

· LinkedIn

· TikTok


Image courtesy of iStock/ @BbenPhotographer

Show's Stories