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Premature Births

The rate of giving birth to premature babies has risen by almost 27 percent this year, and this rise is alarming. What are the possible causes of preterm labour, and what can be done to prevent it? 

Very little is known about what actually causes premature birth. Though medicine and the field of obstetrics have made major advances, the cause behind such births is still unclear. The greatest risk to having a premature baby is if your first child was premature. Thus, if this was the case with you, it is essential that you take steps to enhance your chances of giving birth on time. Here are some tips to reduce the chances of a premature birth. 

If you work full-time outside the house, it's time to take it easy. Take time off well in advance. 

Make sure you get plenty of rest. While it is important to be well rested, excessive inactivity is risky too. Take out time for some exercise. Go for a walk everyday, and perform some stretches in consultation with your gynaecologist. However, at towards the end of your second trimester or beginning of the third trimester, reduce all other activity and make sure that you get more than enough bed rest. 

Keep yourself well hydrated. Drink eight glasses of water or juice in a day. Don't drink too much though as excessive water can thin the blood slightly. It is however better to drink more than to drink less. 

Very young mothers also run the risk of giving birth to premature babies, as do underweight mothers. Your weight gain should be according to schedule, and you should not put on too much or too less during pregnancy. 

Intra-uterine infections also contribute towards premature delivery. It is thus essential now more than ever to maintain vaginal and hygiene.

Stay away from alcohol and cigarettes when pregnant. The harmful effects of drinking and smoking when pregnant have been proved again and again.  

Keep a look out for any spotting. Spotting may be harmless, but it also could be an indicator that something is not right. 

If you notice any abnormal discharge that itches or smells foul, you should contact your gynaecologist immediately. 

Pregnant women are especially susceptible to periodontal disease, and this is thought to be one of the factors associated with causing premature births. This is because the bacteria that affects the gums travels through the bloodstream and is believed to target the foetus. In fact, it is believed that developing a periodontal disease during pregnancy is as harmful as smoking or drinking when pregnant! Thus, if you are planning on conceiving, get a dentist to look at your teeth, and if something is wrong, it should be treated before conception. During your pregnancy take extra care to brush your teeth well, twice a day, and to floss regularly to prevent the onset of periodontal diseases.

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