Here are the answer to some of the most frequently asked questions around premature labour and premature babies.
What does ‘premature’ mean?
Premature is when a baby is born before 37 weeks gestation. A normal pregnancy lasts from 37 – 42 weeks, where you are classed a going ‘full term’. The weeks are counted from the first day of your last menstrual cycle.
When is the earliest a hospital will deliver a baby?
It depends on the hospital but usually not before 24 weeks and they ideally like you to carry your baby for as long as possible. The longer you can vary your baby the greater the chances of survival and reduces the chances of long term complications.
What are the dangers to a preterm baby?
There are numerous dangers to any preterm baby but will vary depending on the babies gestational age and weight. Possible complications include jaundice, anemia, respiratory distress syndrome, infection, apnea, blindness, intestine and bowl infections, low blood pressure and brain hemorrhaging. There could also be developmental delays.
Can premature labour be prevented?
There is often very little you can do to prevent premature labour, but you can reduce the risk by keeping fit and healthy, stopping smoking, avoiding excess stress, get any vaginal infections or discharges treated and report any symptoms such as swollen ankles, fluid loss or blood loss as soon as it happens.
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