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Premature Labor & Delivery

Premature Labor & Delivery

Premature labor is also called preterm labor. It’s when your body starts getting ready for birth too early in your pregnancy. Labor is premature if it starts more than three weeks before your due date.

Premature labor can lead to an early birth. But the good news is that doctors can do a lot to delay an early delivery. The longer your baby gets to grow inside you - right up to your due date - the less likely he or she is to have problems after birth.

Lots of different things can increase your risk of premature labor. Some of them are:

  • Smoking
  • Being very overweight or underweight before pregnancy
  • Not getting good prenatal care
  • Drinking alcohol or using street drugs during pregnancy
  • Having health conditions, such as high blood pressure, preeclampsia, diabetes, blood clotting disorders, or infections
  • Being pregnant with a baby that has certain birth defects
  • Being pregnant with a baby from in vitro fertilization
  • Being pregnant with twins or other multiples
  • A family or personal history of premature labor
  • Getting pregnant too soon after having a baby