Would-be mothers are exposed to myriad fatal health complications including gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, infections, and anemia during the course of pregnancy. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that more than 32 million pregnant women suffer from anemia. More than 50% of pregnant women show signs of iron deficiency (IDA). Such complications increase the chances of prenatal mortality, low birth weight, stillbirth, and preterm labor. Let’s explore this in detail.

What is preterm labor and how is it caused?

Also called premature labor, preterm labor is when the mother’s body prepares to give birth too early during the pregnancy. A would-be mother experiences preterm labor at least three weeks before the actual due date. 

It not only triggers early childbirth but also brings health complications for both the mother and the child. That is why premature babies (or preemies) require special medical care in the neonatal intensive care unit. Otherwise, they are at higher chances of developing long-term mental and physical disabilities. 

As yet, there is no specific cause to suggest the occurrence of premature labor. However, leading medical specialists do point out that some of the following risk factors may encourage a pregnant woman to experience preterm labor-

  • Smoking and/or alcohol abuse
  • Obesity or being underweight
  • Family or personal history of premature labor
  • No healthy time gap between two consecutive pregnancies
  • High blood pressure, diabetes, blood clotting, etc.
  • Getting pregnant through IVF

Does it carry any signs or symptoms?

If sighted at during early stages, preterm labor can be stopped and further complications can be prevented. A few warning signs of preterm labor pain are as below: 

  • Regular sensations of tightening of the abdomen (contractions)
  • Mild, but constant backache
  • Frequent abdominal cramps
  • Vaginal spotting, or light bleeding as well
  • Watery or bloody type of vaginal discharge
  • Too early membrane breakage 

Would-be mothers should be more attentive and take special care if they notice any of the above symptoms. Calling for quick medical assistance in the form of a doctor or midwife can make quite a big difference both for the mother and the child.