Reasons for a Premature Birth

13th April 2019
An adequate gym or sports routine will never be the cause of a premature birth. There are many myths that support this unfounded fear. Except in cases of medical instructions, exercising will always be beneficial for mother and baby.

Physical activity is healthy during every stage of a woman’s life. It’s also necessary during pregnancy. However, the fear of a premature birth sometimes leads a pregnant woman to hesitate. For this reason, she may remain inactive throughout her entire pregnancy. This decision is a mistake.

Increasing numbers

The World Health Organization (WHO), has issued warnings regarding the increasing amount of premature births. Among the possible causes, you’ll find environmental factors and high-stress levels. These are common in modern society.

Besides considering causes inherent to society and modern lifestyles, WHO also refers to a certain degree of negligence, among pregnant women and their physicians.

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What connection is there between exercise and the birth of a preterm baby? Although in principle there’s no direct connection, there are opinions that differ. Next we’ll analyze this topic thoroughly.

Risk factors that may provoke a premature birth

Premature birth is a birth between week twenty-eight and thirty-seven of pregnancy. This baby may face risks. The expected gestation period is essential for the baby in order to achieve maturity before birth.

Why do these births occur before the expected period? There’s no single reason or cause. A preterm baby may be due to several factors. Some of these are:

  • Mother suffering from kidney disease, heart disease, acute anemia, thyroid alterations.
  • Uterus anomalies.
  • Multiple pregnancies.
  • Pregnancy illnesses: preeclampsia, pregnancy diabetes.
  • Alcohol, tobacco and drug addictions.
  • Nutritional deficiencies.
  • Obesity.
  • Accidents.

Strict professional control may prevent premature birth. Proper treatment may reduce risks.

Does exercising provoke premature birth?

The answer is that as a single factor it’s not the cause of premature birth. If the pregnancy is healthy, exercise will not trigger a preterm birth. However, certain precautions must be taken if the physician has detected any pregnancy issue.

Pregnancy is not an illness, however, the body does change and these changes sometimes require new habits. Among these, are adapting gym and sports workouts.

Why is working out related to premature birth? Some people believe that if a woman’s body strains too much, blood flow to the fetus is reduced. It’s wrongly believed that this may provoke the baby being born prematurely. This belief is totally unfounded and has nothing to do with reality.

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Research reports show that exercise during pregnancy doesn’t increase this risk. On the contrary, it assists with the mother’s wellbeing.

Important considerations to keep in mind

  • Not all women are fit for intense exercise. Therefore you shouldn’t start high intensity routines if you’ve never done them before. Even women with experience of running marathons or weight lifting should exercise with caution.
  • Gentle and moderate workouts are recommended for pregnant women. Pay close attention to your body and any symptoms that may show. You must remember that as the baby grows, available oxygen decreases. This is a factor to keep in mind.
  • It’s a sound decision to reduce high intensity workouts during the first three months of pregnancy.

It’s always important to speak to a doctor. You need to make sure the pregnancy is developing normally and it’s safe to exercise. A doctor will know what’s best for you. He’ll be able to determine what type of exercise you can do without any risks.

 

Goldenberg, R. L., Culhane, J. F., Iams, J. D., & Romero, R. (2008). Epidemiology and causes of preterm birth. The Lancet. http://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60074-4 Glass, H. C., Costarino, A. T., Stayer, S. A., Brett, C. M., Cladis, F., & Davis, P. J. (2015). Outcomes for extremely premature infants. Anesthesia and Analgesia. http://doi.org/10.1213/ANE.0000000000000705 Kramer, M. S. (1987). Determinants of low birth Weight: Methodological Assesment and Meta-analysis. Bull WHO. http://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD005542.pub2. Smith, L. J., McKay, K. O., van Asperen, P. P., Selvadurai, H., & Fitzgerald, D. A. (2010). Normal development of the lung and premature birth. Paediatric Respiratory Reviews. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.prrv.2009.12.006