- Causes of Early Labor
- Symptoms and the Threat of Early Labor
- Treatment of Pregnant Women
- Prevention of Early Labor
Early labor is that which occurs at 28-37 weeks of gestation. Thus the fetus has a weight in the range of 1000-2500 gr. But now, according to the World Health Organization termination of pregnancy on term of more than 22 weeks, in which the fetal weight is greater than 500 g and within 7 days it survives, is defined as early labor with an extremely low weight of the fetus.
Causes of Early Labor
Risk factors for early labor are: low standard of living in social and economic terms, problems in family life, too young age of the pregnant, bad habits, abortions made before, if there were previous miscarriages and early labor, genital diseases of inflammatory nature, infection of the genitourinary system, severe somatic illnesses, problems in the structure and functioning of the reproductive organs. Major importance in the emergence of this issue may play a heavy course of pregnancy. It is also important to pay attention to infectious diseases, which the pregnant suffered during gestation.
Early labor in 22-27 week – is 5 percent of the total. First of all, they can be explained by cervical deficiency, infection of membranes, their premature rupture. In this situation, the fetal lungs are not matured, so do not provide sufficient respiratory function. Accelerate lung maturation by drugs is not always possible. As a result, in this situation for the newborn is the poor prognosis of labor.
Early labor, occurred at time of 28-33 weeks of pregnancy may be associated with a wide range of reasons. In this case too, the fetal lungs are still insufficiently matured, but in a large number of cases by means of drugs more rapid maturation can be achieved. Therefore, the outcome of childbirth at such time for the newborn has a chance to be more favorable. An early labor that happens in pregnancy of 34-37 weeks, has the odds of favorable outcomes.
Symptoms and the Threat of Early Labor
Early labor can be divided into threatening, starting and started. If we talk about the threatening childbirth, it is characterized by irregular pain in the lumbar region and in the lower abdomen with increased uterine tone.
Cervix of the uterus is not opened. When there is starting early labor, it appears by cramping pain in the lower abdomen, accompanied by a constant increase in uterine tone (aka contractions). Thus the cervix is shortened and opens. Sometimes an early discharge of amniotic fluid happens.
These are the signs of early labor: an early discharge of amniotic fluid, weak labor; extremely strong labor and discoordination, very fast or rapid delivery, and, conversely, the duration of delivery may increase, bleeding due to placental abruption, bleeding in the early postpartum and postnatal period as a result of the fact that part of the placenta is retained, inflammatory complications that may arise both during delivery and after it, and fetal hypoxia.
Treatment of Pregnant Women
If there are signs which indicate the likelihood of early labor, differentiated treatment is required, because if labor is starting, the treatment to save the pregnancy can be effective, and with started labor the effectiveness will not be the same. In order to reduce the excitability of the uterus, reducing its contractile activity a bed can be recommended, antispasmodic, anti-anxiety drugs. To reduce the specific uterine activity magnesium sulfate is often assigned, as well as medications such as gynipral, partusisten.
In order to treat pregnant women who have early labor, non-pharmacological means of physiotherapy character can be used, for example, electro relaxation of uterus by applying to it sinusoidal alternating tones, whose frequency is in the range of 50-500 Hz and the current intensity is not more than 10 mA. The electro relaxation by ”Amplipuls-4” device is used. It is recognized very effective and safe for both the pregnant woman, and the fetus. Also, in threatened early labor acupuncture is widely used. It may be an independent method, and combined with the drugs.
Also in this situation, prevention of respiratory disorders is important (respiratory distress syndrome) at the child by assigning glucocorticoids to the expectant mother. The reason is that premature newborns are suffering from respiratory disorders is due to the fact that in the immature lungs there is not enough surfactant. The latter is a substance that coats the alveoli of the lungs and helps them open up during inhalation and prevents abating of alveoli during exhale. Surfactant in a small amount is produced after 22-24 weeks of pregnancy, but this substance after the early birth is very quickly consumed.
Proper development can begin only after 35 weeks due to the use of glucocorticoid agents, which are administered to the pregnant woman, or if its accelerated synthesis can be seen. Contraindications for prescribing the dexamethasone are as follows: gastric, duodenal ulcer, lack of blood circulation in the 3rd degree, nephritis, endocarditis, tuberculosis in an active form, complex variations of diabetes, severe preeclampsia, and osteoporosis. Such prevention of respiratory disorders will be effective at terms of 28-35 weeks. The prevention is repeated in a week, two or three times.
Prevention of Early Labor
How to avoid early labor? Prevention, as we know, is always better than cure. In order to minimize the risk of early labor, it is necessary before the start of pregnancy to take care of some very important points:
- To pass a full medical examination, during which all chronic diseases will be identified, the individual characteristics of the organism and the uterus, as well as the presence of infection. As a result, all infections and inflammations are treated in advance, and all chronic diseases and characteristics of the organism are known to doctors before conception, and therefore taken into account during pregnancy.
- Timely register with the antenatal clinic, as well as elaborate your doctor about all your diseases and peculiarities, show medical documents – in general, as fully as possible, inform the doctor about your health.
- Avoid contact with contagious patients, to prevent contamination during pregnancy.
- Avoid excessive exercise, and try to minimize the amount of stress. If a woman has a complex and nervous profession, or the situation at home leads to stress, it makes sense to take sedatives throughout the pregnancy. Of course, in consultation with the doctor.
- Regularly undergo all the necessary examinations, including tests for viruses and infections, sonogram, etc.
- Closely monitor your condition before and during pregnancy.
All these measures will help to minimize the risk of early labor. However, the important thing is to remember that no matter what week the early labor begins, 25, 30, 35 … the doctors will do everything possible to save the life and health of the child and the mother. And your task is to follow the recommendations of doctors and to get nervous as little as possible.