What is History of Preterm Birth?

Any baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy is a Preterm Birth. Because the baby is not fully grown and may not be able to survive outside the mother’s body, the baby is considered premature. This is one of the top causes of infant death in the United States.

What are the causes?

There is no clear cause of Preterm Birth. Some risk factors are:

  • Previous preterm birth – you are more likely to have additional preterm births if you have a history of preterm birth
  • Pregnancy with more than one baby
  • Problems with your uterus, placenta or cervix
  • Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs during pregnancy
  • Infections in your body that occur near the baby
  • High blood pressure and/or diabetes
  • Being underweight or overweight before pregnancy
  • Stressful life events
  • Several miscarriages or abortions

Treatments for History of Preterm Birth:

  • Bedrest
  • Surgical procedure to close cervix and prevent pregnancy
  • Medications to prevent contractions
  • Steroid injections to speed up lung development in your baby

What can I do?

  • Seek regular prenatal care
  • Eat healthy foods and take prenatal vitamins
  • Manage your medical conditions such as diabetes
  • Listen to your doctor’s advice about physical activity (including how many hours you should work)
  • Avoid risky substances (like tobacco, alcohol, etc.)
  • Ask your doctor if it is safe for you to have sex
  • Limit stress
  • Continue to visit your dentist.


It is important to remember the health information found on this Web site is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your health care provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a true medical emergency, call 911 immediately.


  • Contractions more than 8 times per hour
  • Low, dull backache
  • Pressure or pain on your pelvic area
  • Diarrhea
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding
  • Watery vaginal discharge – this may be the amniotic fluid that is surrounding your baby inside of you


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