Preterm Births may not be Preventable but There are Ways to Promote a Healthy, Full-Term Pregnancy
Any delivery of a baby is considered preterm birth if it occurs before 37 weeks of gestation. That definition comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Unfortunately, preterm birth babies are at risk for brain injuries, cerebral palsy and both motor and cognitive impairments. There is something that prenatal care, proper management of risk factors, regular prenatal care and a healthy diet may do to significantly improve the outcomes and perhaps avert these injuries.
The medical standard of care requires obstetricians and medical providers to treat patients who are most at risk for preterm delivery to prevent any injuries to the baby.
The most significant risk factors considered for a preterm delivery are a history of prior preterm birth and/or a short cervix. A history of a preterm birth increases the risk of another preterm birth in a mother’s current pregnancy by 10-35%. See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on this subject.
A short cervical length increased the risk of preterm birth by 30-60%. The shorter the cervical length, the greater the risk of a preterm birth according to ACOG (The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) Practice Bulletin No. 130 (Prediction and Prevention of Preterm Birth).
A third and less frequent factor that may inspire a preterm birth is a collection of conditions including infection, hypertension, preeclampsia, diabetes and cardiovascular disorders.
Of the other more frequent reasons for preterm delivery that includes preeclampsia, is fetal distress, intrauterine growth restriction (the baby is too large for the vaginal delivery), placental abruption or placenta previa.
A preterm birth risk may be caused by the onset of an infection such as chorioamnionitis or bacterial vaginosis. Chorioamnionitis is an inflammation or infection of the placental and/or the fetal membranes. The cause of chorioamnionitis is associated with an infection migrating from the vagina to gain access to the upper genital tract through the mother’s cervix.
The methods used to prevent a preterm delivery are the identification of the risks to start with. If a pregnant mother has a history of a prior preterm birth or a shortened cervix, there are two proved treatments that are shown to be effective in preventing preterm birth. One is the use of progesterone and the other is a cerclage. The vaginal suppository progesterone is recommended for preventing preterm birth with women who have a short cervix.
Another effective preventative measure is the use of a cerclage. The cerclage is a procedure in which a purse-string stitch is sewn into the cervix. The placement of the cerclage lengthens the short cervix and provides mechanical support where there is cervical insufficiency.
Where a preterm delivery appears to be unavoidable, many physicians have offered steroids to pregnant mothers on either an inpatient or outpatient basis by way of an injection. The reason for the steroid injection is to improve the outcomes of premature babies. The steroids improve the neonatal outcome by increasing the lung maturity of the baby, decreasing incidence of intraventricular hemorrhage, decreasing the incidence of white matter brain damage, decreasing the incidence of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), shortening the hospital stay for premature babies and increasing survival rates. Steroids are given up to 4 weeks before birth. The maximum benefits of steroids are when they are given at one and seven days before birth. Respiratory distress syndrome is one of the most common health risks of prematurely delivered babies. This is because of insufficient lung production.
There is no full-proof way to prevent preterm labor, but there are ways that mothers may choose to promote a healthy, full-term pregnancy.
It has been recommended that pregnant mothers visit their healthcare provider and monitor their health and their baby’s health as frequently as advised. If a mother has a history of preterm labor or develops signs or symptoms of preterm labor, seeing the mother’s healthcare provider more often for ultrasound and other tests would be suggested.
In all pregnancies, it is generally recommended to eat a healthy diet. It is also recommended that mothers quit smoking and stay away from any illicit drugs.
In cases of preterm delivery where medical providers have chosen not to follow the medical standard of care to prevent or provide mothers with the necessary care, successful birth injury cases brought by experienced lawyers like Kreisman Law Offices can be pursued.
If you or someone you know or love has delivered an injured premature baby in Illinois, please call us for an immediate and free consultation. Robert Kreisman of Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Chicago and Illinois birth injury cases for more than 40 years.
With our years of experience in trying and settling birth injury cases and birth trauma cases Kreisman Law Offices provides the best possible services to our clients and have achieved unsurpassed results. Our service is unmatched. Please call us 24 hours a day at (312) 346-0045 or toll free (800) 583-8002 for a free and immediate consultation, or complete a contact form online. There is no charge for a consultation that will include an evaluation of your case.