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Premature Birth Causes & Risks


There are many reasons why a woman would go into labor before her scheduled due date, including:

  • Having previously delivered prematurely
  • A ruptured amniotic sac (ruptured membranes)
  • Infections of the urinary tract or cervix
  • A weak cervix—prior surgical procedures
  • Abnormalities in the uterus, including fibroids and malformations of the uterus
  • Twins or higher number of fetuses
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs during pregnancy—especially cocaine
  • Poor nutrition during pregnancy
  • Too much amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios)
  • Chronic diseases like:

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.

The following factors increase your chance of delivering prematurely:

  • Having multiple births (twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.)
  • Having a chronic disease—For example, if you have poorly controlled asthma , this may increase your risk.
  • Having had a previous premature birth
  • Poor prenatal care, or poor nutrition during pregnancy
  • Substance abuse during pregnancy

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2020 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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