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Common Causes Of Preterm Labour During Pregnancy


Pre-term labour or premature labour is the term used for childbirth before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Normal pregnancy period is 40 weeks. The baby is completely ready for birth only within this time.

However, at times, there can be many situations that can cause the birth of the baby before the due date. In this case, the cervix thins out and dilation will be initiated.

According to medical experts, premature babies can be at a high risk of having health problems. In the past, pre-term labour was considered to be very risky and there were no medicines to prevent it.

Now, with the vast development of medical science, pre-term labour has become less risky than olden days. There are steroid injections that will help develop the baby's internal organs within the womb. Even premature birth can be delayed with some medicines.

In a recent survey, it was found that around 12% of women have a chance of pre-term labour during pregnancy. It also states that most of the pre-term labours can be avoided by understanding the specific signs.

There are many reasons for pre-term labour during pregnancy and here let's discuss about some of the causes of pre-term labour:


Chronic Illness

Women with chronic illness like high blood pressure, kidney diseases, diabetes or blood clotting disorders have a high risk of pre-term labour. These women need continuous monitoring from the beginning of pregnancy with extra care in the third trimester. By knowing the problems, doctors can start medication to avoid premature labour.



Infections such as vaginal infections, urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted infections are other major reasons for pre-term labour. Even, infection with fever more than 101 degrees during pregnancy can lead to premature labour.


Obesity Or Being Underweight

Obesity or being underweight can be the reasons for pre-term labour. It is seen that most of the women who are underweight or overweight before pregnancy tend to have premature labour. So, weight management has a crucial role in preventing pre-term labour.



Polyhydramnios is a condition in which there is excess amniotic fluid in the womb during pregnancy. Amniotic fluid volume will increase at a very fast phase, especially during 30 weeks. It may cause pre-term labour. The volume of the fluid can be monitored with ultrasound scanning.


Cervical Incompetence

When the neck of the womb is weak, the baby tends to come before the due date. Pressure may increase as the baby grows, so doctors can do certain precautions like putting stitches on the cervix or giving some medicines.


Water Breaking

Water breaking is one of the common risks that can cause pre-term labour during pregnancy. This occurs when the amniotic sac membrane breaks. The fluid flows through the cervix and vagina. So, doctors suggest rushing the pregnant lady to the hospital if she sees any change in the colour of vaginal discharge or presence of mucus plug in the discharge.


Abnormalities Of The Uterus

Some women have certain abnormalities in shape or structure of the womb. Women with such abnormalities find it difficult to carry the baby for complete nine months. But it is not much to worry about, as nowadays modern medicine can support the pregnancy.

These are some of the causes of pre-term labour during pregnancy. Apart from these, lifestyle-related factors like smoking, drinking or using drugs may also cause premature labour.

Read more about: labour delivery birth baby pregnancy
Story first published: Thursday, October 20, 2016, 13:12 [IST]
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