Reducing The Risk Of Premature Labour

Premature labour, also called preterm labor occurs when you experience regular contractions to your uterus causing a change to your cervix before your pregnancy reach 37 week. If you end up delivering your baby before 37 weeks, it’s called premature birth and your baby is premature. There are some circumstances that can increase your chances of giving birth prematuredly so you need to find out if you are at risk or not, and what precautions you need to take to ensure you don’t put yourself at risk.

Firstly, you need to know your own medical history since you are more likely to give birth prematurely if

  • You’ve had previous premature births
  • Multiple pregnancy
  •  Under 17 years or over 35 years old
  • Have cervical insufficiency(Opening of cerix before your pregnancy reach full term)
  • Have had Preterm Premature Rupture of the Membranes (PPROM)- When your waters break before 37 weeks

Other factors that can lead to premature labour and birth besides the above are

  • Intrauterine infection – When bacteria infections travel up the vagina into the womb and infect it, this may cause the fetal membranes to become inflamed and infected. This may trigger premature contractions or lead to preterm premature rupture of the membranes (PPROM).
  • Pre-eclampsia – High blood pressure and protein in urine usually sets in after the 20th week of pregnancy. In some cases, organs such as liver or kidneys can become affected and there can be problems with blood clotting. Read more about
  • Gestational Diabetes – This usually happens when your body cannot produce enough insulin to meet its extra needs in pregnancy, thereby causing an increase in blood sugar levels. Although most women who have gestational diabetes during pregnancy go on to have healthy babies, some women develop more serious complications which could lead to preterm labour or still births. 

Your lifestyle can determine your pregnancy health, living a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of preterm labour.

Here are some lifestyle that can increase the risk of premature birth

1. Smoking

2. Drinking alcohol or street drugs

3. Body weight: Moms who are overweight or underweight are at high risk of premature labour.

4. Mental health: Moms who are physically or mentally abused during pregnancy are at high risk of premature labour.

Lifestyles To Incorporate To Prevent Preterm Labour

To reduce the risk of premature labour here are some do’s and don’t;

1. Pay attention to your body

Let people call you “paranoid” but it’s better to be safe than sorry, so look out for symptoms that are unusual such as fever, vomiting, unusual pains or aches, prolonged swelling or discomfort, speak to your doctor immediately. This could help detect an infection on time.

2. Go for regular antenatal checkups 

This is soo important, moms-to-be might not be able to recognise foetal distress or pregnancy complications on time, but during antenatal check-ups, your doctor or a mid-wife can detect them. Therefore, regular antenatal care is a must.

3. Eat healthy and exercise regularly

Exercising and eating healthy during pregnancy can help ensure a healthy BMI and help reduce the risk of  pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes.

4. Don’t smoke or drink

As you might have read up above, drinking and smoking can increase your risk of premature labour because the alcohol or smoke will pass through the placenta and may affect your baby.

5. Maintain high levels of hygiene

Washing your hand after engaging in anything dirty, keeping anything you usually come in contact with clean and avoiding dirty areas will help reduce the possibility of you catching an infection.

Although most preterm babies are birthed without any prior warning, if only extra care was taken many cases of premature birth could have been prevented. Take good care of yourself, exercise, watch your weight, and attend antenatal appointment faithfully and  remember to watch out for any unusual symptoms.

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4 Things You Can Blame On Pregnancy

Tell me, did you ever use pregnancy as an excuse to get out of a situation you don’t want to be in? Well I did! But seriously, it’s the only reward you get during pregnancy that is, until you give birth to your baby. One look at your bump and people will let you off. I didn’t have to queue to enter BRT bus, even in banks, men take one look at me and allow me get to the front and do my transaction like fast fast.

It makes all the pains and sores of pregnancy a little more bearable, and here are some of the things we blame on pregnancy;

Pregnancy brain

This is the short form for forgetfulness. If you’re pregnant and you forgot to do something or how to do it, don’t worry people won’t blame you, they’d blame it on pregnancy brain. My MIL heard my husband blaming me for forgetting to put his packed lunch in the car, you can’t believe she berated him, “don’t you know she’s pregnant? Pregnant women have a tendency to forget” Since then, I made forgetfulness my excuse, and he was quick to let things go, funky yeah?

Weird food combinations and cravings

Trust me, every unhealthy food that I wouldn’t eat on a normal day without being questioned is what I eat when I’m pregnant, I especially loved “nzu (chalk)” and cold water, garri and groundnut and no one can take them from me. Some women hate eating the foods cooked by their hand during pregnancy, they’d rather they eat their neighbour’s food or one cooked by someone else but them. Did I tell you about how I loved eating rice and okro? Which I would normally not eat.


Not engaging in any strenous activity

If you don’t want to wahala yourself, pregnancy is your best excuse, “Eh! Can you please help me sweep the floor, I can’t bend” Even strangers become generous when they see you are pregnant, “let me help you carry that bag” they’ll offer to help because it looks heavy”. Even though you might be overwhelmed by the attention and everyone being at your beck and call, don’t get used to it, because it’s not healthy. To be strong you need to move around and work.

Body aches

Your ribs may hurt, your body may ache and you may constantly need a pain relief medication. For me, my legs were always swollen, so I’d beg hubby for a massage, with my leg stretched on the table I’ll relax and have dear hubby minister to my needs, after all it’s our baby. If I’m good, I get a body massage too.

But pregnancy can do mean things to someone, your back will hurt, your legs may ache and your feet will be all swollen, there will be times when you’d need help standing up from the chair and you may be waddling like a whale instead of walking.

At the end when you sight and hold your wriggling baby in your hands, your joy will know no bound, and all the pains will be forgotten. Meanwhile, use pregnancy to get some pampering, but don’t be lazy!

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