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Premature labor can be experienced by anyone. Generally, the cause of premature birth is unknown and can be a combination of several factors, ranging from he alth problems to excessive stress in pregnant women
Normal labor occurs when the baby is born at 37–40 weeks of gestation. However, there are several things that can cause a baby to be born prematurely or born before 37 weeks of gestation.
Preterm labor can occur in 12% of pregnancies. The younger the pregnancy when the baby is born, the higher the risk of the baby experiencing he alth problems because some of his organs cannot work properly.
Causes Babies Born Premature
The cause of premature birth is sometimes not known for certain, but there are several conditions that can increase the risk of premature birth, including:
1. He alth problems or abnormalities in pregnant women
Pregnant women with chronic he alth problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease have a higher risk of premature labor.
In addition, cervical incompetence and short cervix can also cause premature labor. The cervix or cervix is the lower part of the uterus that is connected to the top of the vagina which is usually closed, tight, thick, and long.
When pregnant women are about to give birth, the cervix will soften and open gradually. Meanwhile, if a pregnant woman has cervical insufficiency, the cervix may open too quickly, which can cause the baby to be born prematurely.
2. Infection in pregnant women
Various infections and inflammations can cause premature rupture of the membranes, increasing the risk of preterm labor. Some infectious diseases that can cause premature birth include vaginal bacterial infections, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and urinary tract infections.
3. Placental abruption
Abruptio placenta or placental abruption is a condition when the placenta separates from the uterine wall before the right time for delivery. This condition usually causes bleeding in the mother, so that it can hamper the supply of nutrients and oxygen for the baby.
In severe conditions, bleeding can be too much and cause the baby's condition to become unstable, so the baby must be saved by birth. As a result, babies are born prematurely.
4. Stretching uterus
Strength of the uterus usually occurs because the baby is too large or there are more than 1 (twins) and excess amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios). The most common cause of stretching is twins.
Pregnancy with more than 1 baby causes the uterus to become stretched and too large. This stretch can increase the prostaglandins that can stimulate uterine contractions, thus increasing the risk of the baby being born prematurely. The more babies in the womb, the higher the risk of preterm labor.
5. Genetic factors
Genetic factors are also one of the causes of premature birth. The risk of preterm delivery will be higher if the mother or siblings of pregnant women have experienced preterm labor. Likewise if the pregnant mother herself has given birth to a premature baby before.
6. Unhe althy lifestyle
Unhe althy lifestyle of pregnant women such as lack of sleep, smoking, consumption of alcoholic beverages, and use of illegal drugs can increase the risk of premature birth.
An unhe althy lifestyle can increase inflammatory activity in the body, thus triggering premature labor. Harmful content such as nicotine contained in cigarettes can cause the blood vessels in the uterus to narrow, so that the supply of nutrients and oxygen for the baby becomes blocked.
7. Excessive stress
Excessive stress experienced by pregnant women during pregnancy can cause the release of stress hormones which can eventually trigger labor contractions prematurely. This excessive stress is usually related to traumatic events or events that shake the psychologically of pregnant women such as domestic violence or the death of a loved one.
There are many factors that can cause a baby to be born prematurely, so it is important for mothers to regularly check their pregnancy with a doctor from the beginning when they know they are pregnant. Regular checkups allow doctors to take steps earlier if there are risk factors for preterm labor or other pregnancy complications.
If pregnant women are at risk for premature labor, doctors may refer pregnant women for control and delivery in a hospital equipped with a NICU (neonatal intensive units) room. This room serves to care for babies with the need for close monitoring, including premature babies, so that they can live he althy lives like other babies.