Can You Prevent Preterm Labor?
Compelling new research says it may be possible. Here, nine surprising ways to help get your baby to term - and to a healthier start in life
Know The Risks
2. Know your risks. Certain pregnant women are more likely to deliver early. Risk factors include a prior early delivery; smoking or illegal drug use; high blood pressure or diabetes; carrying multiple fetuses, such as twins; a uterine infection during pregnancy; an age of 35 or older; pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia; being over- or underweight; and being African-American.
Talk to your doctor if you have any of these risk factors -- she can suggest ways to minimize them, such as improving your lifestyle through diet and exercise or treating a uterine infection. In addition, she may recommend that you take a tour of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and read up on preterm infant care. Keep in mind, however, that half of all women who deliver early have no known risk factors. So it's a good idea for all moms-to-be to have a general understanding of how to care for a preemie.