Reduce Your Risk of Premature Birth
Premature births are rising at an alarming rate in the U.S, 36% in the past 25 years. Being born prematurely reduces the time that the baby has to grow and develop. It is the major cause of infant death and is associated with developmental delays, mental retardation, and mental health issues. Studies show that even a few extra days in the womb can make a huge difference in positive outcomes for the baby.
What do women and their partners need to know? First of all, you can avoid many of the causes of prematurity, including smoking, exposure to environmental toxins, and drug and alcohol use. Ask your doctor about microbiogical screening in early pregnancy to treat hidden infections, including of the vagina, kidneys and bladder. If you have chronic illness such as hypertension, diabetes, or lupus, you need to monitor them carefully. Your risk of premature birth also increases if you are African-American, under 18, or over 40.
Today, many couples use in vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive. A common practice has been to implant several embryos, which often results in multiple births. Unfortunately, these children are at a much higher risk of premature birth. A recent study from the March of Dimes highlights the risks of multiple pregnancies and prematurity associated with IVF. Please read it if you’re considering fertility treatments.