Advances in modern medicine have made it increasingly possible for babies born prematurely—in some cases very prematurely—to survive and grow to be normal children. That said, prevention of premature birth is still best. Prenatal care is very important in preventing babies from being born prematurely and at a low birth weight, as it helps doctors identify problems early on that can lead to premature birth. Some women who are high risk of premature labor may be treated with progesterone supplements, which can help reduce the risk of preterm birth in women who have had a previous spontaneous preterm birth (although more research is needed on this relationship).
In addition to getting routine checkups throughout pregnancy, women need to eat healthy foods (including avoiding non-pasteurized meats and cheeses, which carry a risk of listeria infection) and abstain from cigarette smoking, drugs and alcohol.