Adopt healthy pregnancy habits to avoid preterm birth
Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei
Being pregnant is one of the happiest moments in life. Despite the excitement that comes with it, it could be hard for you as you need to take extra care of your body and the foetus inside you during this time.
What is preterm birth?
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), preterm is defined as babies born alive before 37 weeks of pregnancy are completed. There are sub-categories of preterm birth, based on gestational age:
- Extremely preterm (born at less than 28 weeks of pregnancy).
- Very preterm (born between 28 to 32 weeks of pregnancy).
- Moderate to late preterm (born between 32 to 37 weeks of pregnancy).
Sometimes, even a healthy pregnancy may make you go into preterm labour because it is usually not anticipated. Preterm birth also happens because the causes are not completely understood.
But adopting healthy pregnancy habits may help keep your baby until he or she is fully ready to face the world.
How to prevent it?
Below are some simple tips as suggested by health experts that may help avoid preterm birth:
Eat healthy: This is the time that you eat a balanced diet which is good for you, your baby and pregnancy. Make sure that you get all necessary nutrients in right proportions every day — such as Vitamins A, C, E, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and most importantly, the well-known baby- friendly folic acid. This can help avoid preterm labour.
Adopt healthy lifestyle: If you smoke, drink or use any kinds of drugs, you must quit.
Get enough fluids: Remember to take at least 8 glasses of water or fluids daily to keep yourself hydrated. Dehydration can cause premature contractions. Keeping yourself hydrated can also increase the chances of keeping baby put.
Say ‘no’ to stress: Stress is not directly linked to preterm, but try not to take stress for your own benefit during this time. Instead ask for help and try to relax.
Check your weight: Gaining too much or too little weight during pregnancy can up your preterm labour risk. Being overweight can increase your odds of getting gestational diabetes and preeclampsia (both of which up preterm) whereas being underweight can advance your due date as well as make your baby born too small.
Prenatal vitamins: Do not neglect taking those pills, they are not just good for you and your growing baby’s health, but will also increase the chances that you’ll carry to term.
Don’t hold your urine: During pregnancy, you should never hold your urine. Doing that can inflame your bladder and as a result of which, your uterus could be aggravated leading to contractions. Holding your pee could also cause urinary tract infections (UTI), another source of preterm contractions.