13 factors that can cause premature birth

All mothers want our children to come to term. In fact, giving birth before date is one of the main fears of the future parents. In this article, we tell you what are the factors that can cause a premature birth and how can you tell if your child will come to the world sooner than expected.


Premature delivery: everything you need to know

Some risk factors, such as hypertension, are associated with premature delivery.

Preterm birth is the one that occurs prematurely, specifically after week 21 and before 37 of gestation. Those babies that arrive in the world between week 37 and 40 are considered "full term".

According to data published in ABC in 2018, in Spain, around 29,000 premature babies are born every year. Those who are born before week 28 have a 65% chance of surviving, while those who surpass that instance reach a 95% survival rate. Now, what triggers a premature birth?

Factors that can cause premature labor

The possible causes of a preterm delivery are many and It is difficult to talk about them without evaluating each case in particular. In general, the main factors that can cause a premature birth are:

1. Gestational diabetes

It controls gestational diabetes to avoid complications in pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes is considered a risk factor that could lead to premature birth. However, there is no conclusive information to ensure that suffering from this condition would increase the risk of the baby being born before term.

2. Renal and cardiac diseases

Serious conditions of the mother's health can affect the normal course of pregnancy. If the mother had a kidney or heart disease, it could lead to a preterm delivery.

3. Thyroid problems

The thyroid hormone is very important in the development and growth of the baby, especially at the beginning of pregnancy, besides being vital for the placental development. A study conducted by American Thyroid Association came to the conclusion that Changes in thyroid function throughout pregnancy may be associated with preterm birth.

4. Eclampsia and preeclampsia

Preeclampsia involves a lack of oxygen in the placenta. This condition can seriously affect the course of pregnancy, producing a premature birth and even serious damage to the health of the baby. Hand in hand with this complication, the mother usually experiences eclampsia, a series of seizures that can reach coma.


5. Detachment of placenta and placenta previa

Placental abruption is a rare situation that occurs in pregnancy when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus, whereas placenta previa refers to a bad location. In the latter case, the placenta is usually located in the cervix. Both conditions are factors that can cause premature labor.

6. Urinary infections

Urinary infections, as well as vaginal ones, are associated with a greater possibility of having a preterm delivery. Different studies have observed that inflammatory processes could cause labor or premature rupture of membranes.

7. Mother's addictions (tobacco, alcohol or drugs)

Avoid addictions to minimize the risks of premature birth.

Exposure of the mother to addictive substances could put pregnancy at risk, by associating with behaviors such as poor diet, poor prenatal control and the possibility of contagion of sexually transmitted or viral diseases.


On the other hand, research has shown that the consumption of certain substances has a direct association with low birth weight, cardiac malformations, placental abruption, placenta previa and preterm delivery.

8. Stress

The specialists in a study in Quebec found that those women who had been delivered before term had evidenced a Stress average higher between 10 and 20 weeks than pregnant women who reached term.

However, the different studies that have analyzed the relationship between premature birth and stress have not reached conclusive data. The researchers maintain that there seems to be a direct relationship but it is still necessary to carry out further investigations.

9. Depression

Some doctors claim that cases of preterm delivery whose explanation has not been found they can be related to cases of depression during pregnancy. When this happens, stress hormone (cortisol) is overstimulated, as well as corticotropin, and this combination could be the trigger for labor.

10. Multiple pregnancy

When the pregnancy involves two or more babies, the growth of the uterus can cause the rupture of the amniotic sac or generate contractions ahead of time.

11. Hypertension

Hypertension is one of the possible indications of preeclampsia.

High blood pressure during pregnancy can complicate pregnancy, increasing the risk of suffering preeclampsia and triggering a preterm delivery. For this reason, specialists tend to closely monitor pregnant women with hypertension problems.

12. Age

Pregnant teenagers have a higher risk of giving birth prematurely because, many times, their own physical development has not yet reached its full splendor. In the case of pregnant women older than 35 years, the risk also increases because other conditions such as diabetes or hypertension are more common.

13. Short interval between pregnancies

Two very close pregnancies may increase the risk of premature birth. However, having two pregnancies in a short time is not a conclusive cause that your child will be born early.

Symptoms of premature birth

Take note of the symptoms of childbirth and when in doubt, go to your doctor.

When starting preterm labor you should go to the hospital as quickly as possible. It is a medical emergency that requires attention in the short term. The symptoms that can alert you that labor begins are:

  • Strong and regular contractions that remain in time: the pain usually radiates in the gut, pubis and even, the back.
  • Lumbar pain.
  • Cramps similar to menstrual but stronger.
  • Pressure in the pubis that alerts the baby by pressing to exit.
  • Increased vaginal discharge and expulsion of the mucous plug.
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Water break

Have you taken note of the factors that can cause premature birth? If you have doubts about this, do not hesitate to consult your doctor. He better than anyone else can answer your questions and reassure you based on your physical condition.


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