There are various reasons why babies are born prematurely, from infections during pregnancy to the unhealthy lifestyle of pregnant women. In order to prevent and be aware of it, you need to know what causes babies to be born prematurely.
Premature birth is still the leading cause of nervous system disorders and infant death worldwide. The risk of premature birth can increase due to various conditions. However, this risk can be minimized with good pregnancy preparation and care.
Causes of Babies Born Premature
Labor is considered premature when a pregnant woman gives birth at 37 weeks gestation or less. There are several conditions that can cause a baby to be born prematurely, including:
The most common causes of premature birth are infections of the genitals and urinary tract. However, infection outside of this can still threaten the baby's life.
Infections in pregnancy are very dangerous for the growing fetus and can cause premature rupture of the membranes, increasing the risk of preterm labor.
Examples of infections that can cause babies to be born prematurely are:
- Rubella infection
- Herpes simplex
- Vaginal bacterial infection
- Amniotic membrane infection
- Urinary tract infection
- Group B Streptococcal Infection (GBS)
If not treated immediately, babies born prematurely due to infection may experience physical or intellectual disabilities.
2. Certain diseases
Pregnant women who suffer from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disorders, and high blood pressure, have a higher risk of having preterm labor.
In addition, several conditions during pregnancy can also be a factor in causing premature babies, including:
- Placental abruption, which is a condition when the placenta separates from the uterine wall before the baby is born, resulting in bleeding and obstruction of the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the baby
- Cervical incompetence, which is a condition of a weak cervix so that it can open at any time before term of pregnancy
- Operations in the abdominal cavity during pregnancy, for example due to appendicitis
3. Unhealthy lifestyle
Some examples of unhealthy lifestyles that can trigger premature birth are:
- Smoking while pregnant
- Consuming alcohol or illegal drugs while pregnant
- Being overweight or underweight due to improper nutritional intake, both before and during pregnancy
4. Other causes
There are several conditions that make pregnant women more at risk of giving birth prematurely, including:
- Pregnant with twins
- Pregnant less than 6 months from the previous pregnancy
- Pregnancy through IVF
- Have had abortions or miscarriages several times
- Have you ever had a premature birth?
- Experiencing trauma, violence, or injury while pregnant
- Experiencing heavy stress
- Be less than 17 or more than 35 years old when pregnant
Apart from the various causes of premature birth above, actually premature labor can be experienced by anyone. In fact, some pregnant women can deliver premature babies without any known risk factors.
However, don't worry. The risk of premature birth can be minimized by routinely undergoing prenatal care and adopting a healthy lifestyle. If you are still planning a pregnancy, do a pregnancy program consultation with a doctor to check your health and prepare for your body's condition.
During pregnancy, check with the doctor regularly from the beginning of pregnancy until delivery. If you experience a complaint that feels abnormal, immediately consult a doctor even though there is no schedule for a routine examination.
If you have several risk factors for giving birth prematurely, you can ask your doctor if it's okay to have sex while pregnant.