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Preterm Labor

Causes of Preterm Labor

Many variables can contribute to preterm labor, and in many cases, the cause of preterm labor is unclear. Some of the causes of preterm labor are:

  • Preeclampsia, or high blood pressure during pregnancy
  • Chronic illness, such as heart disease
  • Cervical incompetence (when the cervix does not stay closed on its own)
  • Abnormal shape of the uterus
  • Placental abruption placental previa, poor placental function

There are a number of potential risk factors for preterm labor, some of which may show up in prenatal test results. These can include:

  • Having twins
  • Infection in the mother or the membranes around the baby
  • Birth defects
  • The mother’s water breaking too early
  • Too much amniotic fluid
  • Bleeding in the first trimester

Other risk factors for preterm labor involve the mother’s lifestyle:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Illegal drug use, especially cocaine and amphetamines
  • Physical or severe psychological stress
  • Poor weight gain during pregnancy
  • Obesity

Locations for Preterm Labor