Obstetricians are reporting that they are frustrated over premature birth rates in the United States. While they haven’t increased for decades, they show no signs of decreasing either, despite medical advances. The Spokane Journal of Business reports.
Last November, the March of Dimes released a preterm birth rate report card for different regions of the country. For the Washington area, the rates haven’t changed much in 20 years.
A preterm birth is a birth that happens before 37 weeks of gestation. Premature birth raises the risks of many birth injuries and developmental delays, depending on how premature the birth is. The costs for handling a premature birth can be far higher than those of a normal birth.
Many of the risk factors for a premature birth can’t be controlled, like race and age. But things like smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and drug use can cause premature birth.
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Doctors do not know how labor is precisely triggered. Once labor starts, the baby will come. Fortunately, there are many treatments doctors can use to stabilize babies that are born prematurely, and there are tests right now to see if a progesterone prescription will lower the chances of a premature birth.
However, until this can be proven, the best prevention for a premature birth is to have a healthy life. Even that is no guarantee.