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Understanding And Preparing For Pre-Term Labour

By ALESHA CADET

Tribune Features Reporter

acadet@tribunemedia.net

MANY MOTHERS-to-be eagerly await the birth of their new baby and hope for an ideal labour, free of complications. However according to international doctors, it is important for new moms-to-be to become educated and aware of pre-term birth and the risks involved.

Representatives of the Baptist Health South Miami Hospital reached out to Tribune Health to assist in getting this message out to Bahamian women.

The Baptist Health International Center of Miami is part of the Baptist Health South Florida network, the region’s most preferred faith-based, non-profit health-care organisation. Baptist Health International Center representatives serve as personal liaisons for international patients including Bahamian patients by assisting them with the process of seeking medical treatment in South Florida.

The Center’s multilingual staff helps patients identify the appropriate Baptist Health facility and directs them to the correct specialists to ensure they receive the highest quality care. Baptist Health representatives are specially trained to assist with international patient’s medical and travel needs.

Jorge Gomez, a perinatologist who cares for patients with high-risk pregnancies and medical director of the Maternal-Fetal Special Care Unit at Baptist Health South Miami Hospital said the risks that increases a woman’s chance of experiencing pre-term labour include: smoking or drug use, being younger than 17 or older than 35 years old, little or no prenatal care, pregnancies with multiples such as twins or triplets, and previously delivering a premature baby.

“Mothers usually find out they will deliver a premature baby when they are experiencing symptoms which could be vaginal bleeding, an increase in pressure and many things that we check to determine whether a woman is in premature labour,” said Dr Gomez.

Dr Gomez also pointed out that pre-term labour can result from the mother having or developing conditions such as bacterial vaginosis within the uterine cavity, urinary tract infections; excessive stretching of the uterus from prior pregnancies or too much amniotic fluid; cervical insufficiency caused by abnormal anatomy, such as a shorter cervix; and pneumonia, which decreases oxygenation to the uterus.

He said when women are expiring signs such as sudden onset of pelvic pressure, contractions or menstrual like cramps or dull pain or aches in their lower back before 37 weeks of pregnancy, they should know that they are experiencing a pre-term labour. Dr Gomez advises these women to contact their local health care provider or doctor right away.

“Any baby born after 34 weeks, usually they don’t have any problems, but babies born before that, they tend to have complications such as disabilities,” he said.
He said women should understand that pre-term labour can be managed, if they seek the proper care right away. Dr Gomez said there are medications that can slow down or stop the progression of labour, allowing enough time for the baby to further develop.

He said there are no effective treatments for pre-term labour past forty eight hours, but that delay in the birth of the baby allows time to improve the chance of survival and reduce long-term disabilities.

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