Saturday, March 24, 2007

Prevention of pre-term birth

Where the reason is unknown, generally nothing can be done to prevent the start of premature labour. However, sometimes it can be halted if the baby is considered too young to survive.

If cervical incompetence caused a pre-term birth previously, a second may be avoided by the insertion of a cervical stitch at about 14 weeks gestation, to be removed a couple of weeks before expected delivery date or when labour starts, whichever happens first.

Drugs can be given to lower blood pressure, obviating the need for induction. However, once labour has started, intervention is usually not undertaken.

If premature labour begins for no apparent reason, a woman will be admitted to hospital where drugs may be administered to stop contraction temporarily. During this respite, the mother will be treated with a drug which will cross the placenta and work on developing the baby’s lungs.

When a woman has had a previous pre-term labour, she may be advised to abstain from intercourse for the final two months. This is because prostaglandins in semen are believed to trigger contractions.

Some doctors suggest that patients expecting multiple birth take to their beds as a safeguard from about 30 to 34 weeks of for the rest of their pregnancy.


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