Preterm Labor

Definition

Preterm labor occurs between the 20th and 37th week of pregnancy. This labor includes both uterine contractions and cervical changes.A full-term pregnancy lasts 38-42 weeks but preterm labor can lead to early delivery. Infants born before 37 weeks are considered premature.

Causes

In most cases, the cause is of preterm labor is unknown.Some preterm labor is associated with preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM). PPROM is the rupture of both the amniotic sac and chorion membranes. It generally occurs at least one hour before labor begins.
Amniotic Sac
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Risk Factors

The chance of preterm-labor is greatest in women under the 18 years or over 35 years. Other maternal factors that may increase the chance of preterm labor include:Pregnancy complications that may increase your risk of preterm labor include:Other factors associated with an increased chance of preterm labor include:
  • History of one or more spontaneous second-trimester abortions
  • Less than 6 months between giving birth and the beginning of the next pregnancy
  • A previous preterm birth
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Abnormally shaped uterus
  • Previous bariatric surgery
  • Procedures to remove abnormal cervical cells

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