Premature Labor

Sometimes for reasons we do not fully understand, labor starts before the baby is fully developed. It is during circumstances such as this that we are grateful for the advances in medicine and science that can save the lives of babies that otherwise would be unable to survive on their own.

We do know that things such as poor nutrition, or lifestyle choices like the use of tobacco and cigarettes, or the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, can contribute to the poor health that can trigger premature labor. This is one place we can start, something we can control, to insure the health of the baby and a healthy pregnancy.

Every week of pregnancy is needed to insure that all vital organs have the opportunity to reach their desired maturity. This is especially true for the brain and lungs, which are some of the last organs in the body to develop fully.

The Lungs

The lungs are one of the last vital organs to become fully developed, with significant changes taking place during the last weeks of pregnancy. When a mother goes into labor too early, the baby may not be ready to breath on its own and will require special care.

The lungs produce a compound called “surfactant,  during the last month of pregnancy, essential for you baby to be able to breath on its own.

Bed rest or other methods may be used to stop contractions, holding off labor as long as possible, giving the baby’s lungs more time to mature. If early labor appears immanent, an obstetrician may prescribe certain drugs that can speed up lung development.

 

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