Premature Labor Tips

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When are Braxton Hicks contractions the cause of preterm labor?

Braxton Hicks Contractions

Braxton Hicks contractions are normal. If you experience four or five in an hour you need to contact your healthcare provider. If you experience six or more in an hour you should either go immediately to your healthcare provider or to the labor and delivery unit of your hospital as this will bring on preterm labor.

   
Will bed rest help my preterm labor to go away?

Bed Rest

When pre-term labor hits - a good majority of the time bed rest will halt it. Bed rest allows the uterus to relax and hopefully stop contracting. While on bed rest - in or out of the hospital - have lots of pillows - at your back and under your feet to ease the discomfort of laying around constantly. Do flexing excercises - of the feet, legs and arms. Lay primarily on your left side, to insure proper blood flow to the uterus.

   
How can make my baby´s transition to life outside the womb easier?

Kangaroo care for premature babies

Kangaroo mothering,or kangaroo care, where mother and baby are in continuous skin-to-skin contact, improves the care of premature babies in intensive care.

Kangaroo mothering is based on the premise that premature infants grow best in an environment similar to the womb. Babies are kept in continuous skin-to-skin contact with the mother's abdomen for the first few weeks of life.

When used as an addition to regular intensive care for preemies, the kangaroo method improves breastfeeding rates, reduces hospital infections, and overall costs are less than when traditional incubator-based treatment is used alone.

   

New method of determining lung maturity

A new infrared method of analyzing amniotic fluid provides assessment of fetal lung maturity that is just as accurate as current methods, but easier to perform, according to a report in the July 2000 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The new method offers several advantages over other methods. It requires no sample preparation or chemical reagent, it uses small sample volumes, and its simplicity allows clinicians and technicians to perform the test rapidly after only minimal training.

This method may not be available to you yet, but you may want to ask your practioner about it if you are in a situation of premature labor or considering induction.

   

RSV risk factors

Should your baby decide to make an early appearance, one of the biggest risks it will face is RSV, a respiratory problem in which the lungs cannot stay expanded. The earlier the baby, the greater the risk.
The likelihood that a premature infant will be rehospitalized for RSV after being discharged from the hospital is tripled if the infant has chronic lung disease and is nearly doubled if the infant lives with school-age siblings, according to researchers in Spain.

If you go into premature labor, follow your doctor's orders carefully to help the pregnancy continue as long as possible...each extra day in the womb helps. Also, be as careful as possible to limit your baby's exposure to germs brought home by older siblings.

   
How do I cope with preterm labor?

Coping With Pre-Term Labor

Pre-term labor is labor that occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy. Most of the time bedrest and plenty of fluids will help to halt pre-term labor. If labor starts to dilate and efface the cervix - drugs are given to relax the uterus. The main thing is to keep stress at bay - and relax. The number one goal in dealing with pre-term labor is keeping that baby inside for as long as possible. Follow doctor's orders and accept all the help you can with taking care of your household.

   
How can I halt preterm labor?

Ways Of Halting Pre-Term Labor

Pre-term labor is labor that begins before the 37th week of pregnancy. Most of the time simply bedrest (in or out of the hospital) and drinking plenty of fluids will halt labor. If labor starts to dilate and efface the cervix - drugs called terbutaline will help to relax the uterus. If this doesn't help, an IV of magnesium sulfate will be given - this requires constant monitoring of the fetus and the mother's blood pressure. If early delivery is imminent, corticosteroids are given to help mature the fetus's lungs.

   
When is it considered premature or preterm?

What Constitutes "Preterm"?

Preterm or premature is considered too early to give birth anytime before the 37th week of gestation. 37 weeks is considered full term.

   
How can I stop preterm labor?

Terbutaline (Brethine)

Terbutaline (Brethine) is a tocolytic agent that relaxes the uterus. This drug is given to stop pre-term contractions. It can be given is small doses - or in large doses - or it can be given in a series of three subcutaneous shots while being hospitized. This usually halts the contractions and the drug should be taken until the 36th week of pregnancy.

   
How is preterm labor stopped?

Magnesium Sulfate

Magnesium sulfate is a drug used to stop contractions when drugs like terbutaline won't work. This is given in an IV and the patient has to be on strict bedrest - and her blood pressure monitored. Nurses will keep a close eye out for possible side-effects from the magnesium - such as magnesium toxicity. Magnesium sulfate also helps the fetus in preventing cerebral palsy.

   
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