Possible causes of preterm birth
Women who have an otherwise healthy pregnancy may still end up giving birth early, while other women who have complications may have their baby right on time. Some problems during pregnancy may cause the mother, the baby, or both to become unwell enough that early delivery is the best option. Other times, even if the mother does everything right, there can still be complications late in the pregnancy that cause the baby to be born early. Preterm birth is any delivery prior to the 37th week of pregnancy.
About four out of five premature births are due to four common factors:
- Being pregnant with more than one baby at once (twins or more)
- Uterine bleeding
- Stress for the mother
- An infection in the mother’s uterus or elsewhere in the body
Women who have vaginal bleeding during pregnancy may also end up having a baby born at 34 weeks.
Some women have additional risks of having a baby early. Women who have had a previous preterm birth as well as those with less than 2 years between pregnancies are more likely to experience preterm delivery. Having a short cervix or a history of certain types of surgery on the uterus can also make you more likely to deliver before full term.