Preterm Birth

The physicians at Rock Hill GYN & OB in Rock Hill and Fort Mill, SC, are committed to helping you achieve a healthy pregnancy and delivery experience. In the event of complications such as preterm birth, feel confident that you have a skilled and knowledgeable medical team on your side. We always strive to facilitate the best possible outcome and provide support throughout this process.

What is Preterm Birth?

Preterm birth, also known as premature birth, is when a baby is born before they have fully developed within the womb. Any birth that occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy is considered to be preterm, with babies born prior to 25 weeks considered to be extreme preterm. A more specific classification of preterm birth includes:

  • Late Preterm – Birth takes place 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy
  • Moderately Preterm – Birth takes place between 32 and 34 weeks of pregnancy
  • Very Preterm – Birth takes place at less than 32 weeks of pregnancy of pregnancy
  • Extremely Preterm – Birth takes place at or before 25 weeks of pregnancy

The majority of preterm births occur in the late preterm stage. At this stage, there may be no symptoms, or they may be very mild. The earlier a baby is born the more obvious and immediate the symptoms are. These include:

  • Low birth weight
  • Small size with lack of body fat
  • Oversized head
  • Low body temperature
  • Being covered in lanugo, a fine hair

Complications of with Preterm Birth

Through intensive care, it is possible for a baby to survive being born at 23 weeks or later. That said, preterm birth raises the risk of certain complications regarding both the physical and mental development of the baby. These complications may be immediate and temporary or long-term. They may also not be apparent at birth, manifesting later during infancy or early childhood. They vary depending on how early the baby is born as well as other factors.

Short-term complications associated with preterm birth include:

  • Respiratory problems
  • Difficulty eating due to lack of reflex development
  • Metabolism issues
  • Breathing issues including respiratory distress syndrome and bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • Heart problems including patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) and low blood pressure
  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Low body temperature
  • Anemia
  • Jaundice
  •  Gastrointestinal problems such as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)
  • Underdeveloped immune system

Long-term complications associated with preterm birth include:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Impaired vision
  • Hearing loss
  • Dental problems
  • Delay in developmental milestones
  • Behavioral and psychological issues
  • Chronic health concerns

What Causes Preterm Birth?

There are several risk factors that increase the likelihood that a pregnancy will result in a preterm birth. These include:

  • Being pregnant with multiples
  • Having a previous preterm birth
  • Less than 6 months elapsing before becoming pregnant again after giving birth
  • In Vitro Fertilization
  • Uterine, cervical, or placental problems
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Using drugs
  • Chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Being overweight or underweight before becoming pregnant
  • Stress caused by certain life events such losing a loved one
  • Physical injury or trauma
  • Previous occurrences of miscarriage or abortions

Schedule Your Appointment

Receive dedicated obstetrical care from the health care providers at Rock Hill GYN & OB. Our approach to care is focused on preventing complication from happening, but always having a plan for treatment available in the event that concerns arise. Contact us to schedule an appointment.