Capstone Research Paper
Mr. Exclusa/Ms. Cowart
4 march 2010
How can we prevent the cause of children born prematurely
Most pregnancies last about 40 weeks. By definition, a premature birth takes place more than three weeks before the due date. A premature birth gives a baby less time to develop and mature in the womb. The result is an increased risk of various medical and developmental problems, including trouble breathing and bleeding in the brain. If you go into labor too early, your doctor may try to delay your babys birth. Even if premature birth is inevitable, a few extra days in the womb can promote significant development. Although the rate of premature birth seems to be on the rise, theres good news. A healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward preventing preterm labor and premature birth.
Prematurity is the third leading cause of prenatal death, and preterm premature rupture of the membranes is associated with approximately 50% of all preterm births. The factors described for preterm labor are the same, although the clinical presentation differs among patients. The reason for this disparity is unknown. Many of these pro-inflammatory factors are common in both conditions; however, the clinical presentation differs. Different strategies are used in the administration of prenatal care, and future studies need to determine if the focus should be on screening for high risk women, or widened support for low-risk women, or to what degree these approaches should be merged. While dental infection has been linked with preterm birth, randomized trials have not shown that dental care during pregnancy reduces preterm birth rates.
A number of agents have been studied for secondary prevention of indicated preterm birth. Trials using low-dose aspirin, fish oil, vitamin C and E, and calcium to reduce preeclampsia demonstrated some reduction in preterm birth only when low-aspirin was used. Interestingly, even if agents such as calcium or antioxidants were able to reduce preeclampsia, a resulting decrease in preterm birth was not observed. Reductions in maternal activity such as pelvic rest, limited work, and bed rest are frequently recommended although there is no clear proof of its efficiency. Also, increasing medical care by more frequent visits and more education about pregnancy has not shown a reduction in preterm birth rates. Use of nutritional supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids is based on the observation that populations who have a high intake of such agents are at low risk for preterm birth.
A healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward preventing preterm labor and premature birth. Seek regular prenatal care. Prenatal visits can help your health care provider monitor your health and your babys health. Mention any signs or symptoms that concern you, even if they seem unimportant. Eat healthy foods. During pregnancy, youll need more folic acid, calcium, iron, protein and other essential nutrients. A daily prenatal vitamin ideally starting a few months before conception can help fill any gaps, manage chronic conditions. Uncontrolled diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure increase the risk of preterm labor. Work with your health care provider to keep any chronic conditions under control. Follow your health care providers guidelines for activity. If you develop signs or symptoms of preterm labor, your health care provider may suggest working fewer hours or spending less time on your feet. Sometimes it makes sense to scale back other physical activities also. Get your health care providers OK before taking any medications or supplements. Ask your health care provider about sex. Its not a concern for women who have healthy pregnancies. Set reasonable limits and quiet time every day. Ask for help when you need it; take care of your body so your child can be healthy.