Follow these simple steps to help ensure that your baby is delivered full-term.
A recent study has found that lowering the risk of premature birth is as easy as just following 3 simple steps.
What are the risk factors for premature birth?
Researchers from the Center for Prevention of Preterm Birth at Cincinnati Children's Hospital discovered that if women paid attention to 3 risk factors, they could drastically lower their chances of giving birth preterm.
These risk factors include pregnancy spacing, having a healthy weight at the start of the pregnancy, and gaining only the recommended amount of weight while pregnant.
According to Dr. Emily DeFranco, "These are all risk factors for a really serious health outcome -- preterm birth." She adds that she and her team looked to those 3 factors since those were the easiest things for pregnant mothers to control.
In their study, they used the records of nearly 400,000 births between 2006 and 2011 in order to determine the risk factors. They found that 90% of the women had at least one of the risk factors for premature birth and only 6 percent were in the 'ideal' range that significantly reduces the risk for premature birth.
What can moms do?
First off, when it comes to lowering the risk of preterm births, the researchers recommend that moms should space out their pregnancies by at least a year, since the moms who had less than a year between births had a higher rate of preterm birth.
Second, it's crucial for mothers to be within their ideal weight even before they get pregnant. Not only does this reduce the risk of premature birth, it also helps the mother have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby.
Third would be for mothers to control their weight gain during their pregnancy. For underweight women, 28 - 40 pounds should be the range of weight gain. For women with a normal weight, they should aim for 25-35 pounds. For overweight women, 15-25 pounds, and 11-20 pounds for obese women.
Now, it's important to note that these 3 steps don't necessarily remove the risk of premature birth, but they do significantly lower the chances of it happening, and it also helps mothers have a healthy pregnancy.