It is hard to believe, but many babies born at 25 weeks survive. Some of the greatest advances in medicine have been in the care of premature babies. However, don't start wishing for delivery now;
babies born this early are in the hospital a long time and often have serious problems. And the expenses are enormous!
It is very risky for a baby to be born very early. Premature birth increases the risk of physical and/or mental impairment in the baby. It also increases the risk of fetal death.
How early is "too early" depends on your particular situation. In many cases, 1 or 2 weeks is not going to make much difference in your baby—the baby may only be slightly smaller. However, the earlier the baby is born, the greater the risks.
Help Avoid Premature Labor
Some activities may increase your risk of going into premature labor. Taking the following precautions may help you reduce the risk of giving birth too early.
|Sit whenever you can. Standing may cause contractions as the body attempts to restore circulation to the uterine area.|
|Don't lift and carry heavy objects. When you lift and carry something heavy, you cause abdominal muscles to tighten, which increases pressure on the uterus.|
|Don't smoke. Research shows that women who smoke during pregnancy have a 20 to 50% higher risk of premature labor.|
|Don't drink alcohol. Even in small amounts, alcohol may harm the baby.|
|Gain enough weight. Underweight women who do not gain enough weight have a higher risk of having a baby born too early.|
|Get enough rest. Resting, especially on your left side, improves circulation to your body and your baby.|
|Don't exercise too strenuously. If you exercise too intensely or for too long, it can draw blood away from the uterus to your muscles.|
|Don't stoop, bend or climb stairs when you can avoid it. These activities raise your blood pressure and draw blood away from your uterus.|
|Limit caffeine intake. You increase your risk if you drink five or more cups of coffee a day.|
|Keep all prenatal appointments. Your routine appointments with your doctor will help identify any problems early so they are more treatable.|
Fortunately, more premature babies are surviving today than ever before. Because of advances in technology, today fewer than 10 deaths per 1,000 are reported in premature births. However, survival is hard-won; the average hospital stay for a premature baby ranges from 50 days to more than 100 days.
In babies born extremely early, there is an increased rate of physical and mental disabilities; some are severe. This is the reason your doctor attempts to prolong your pregnancy as long as possible.
Great medical advances have been made in the care of premature babies.