When a woman becomes pregnant, she is typically given a date to expect the delivery of her child about 40 weeks after conception. In some cases, the child can be delivered before this delivery date. If a child is born three weeks or more before the expected date of delivery, this is known as premature labor and delivery. Unfortunately, premature babies can suffer from a variety of health complications, including respiratory issues, heart problems, and more.
The causes of premature labor and delivery are not fully known, but medical scientists believe that the following factors may increase a woman’s risk:
Previous premature birth, pregnancy with multiples, or certain uterine or cervical problems
Certain medical factors, including viral or bacterial infections, chronic illness, clotting disorders, or being underweight or overweight
- Lifestyle factors, including not seeking prenatal care, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or taking illicit drugs during pregnancy, lack of social support for the pregnancy, low income, or high levels of physical or emotional stress
Premature babies that spend more time in the womb have a better chance of survival. Infants born before 24 weeks, for example, have a 50 percent chance of survival compared with a much higher survival rate of babies born after 32 weeks. Babies born at a hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are also shown to have a higher survival rate with the best possible results.
At Good Samaritan Hospital of San Jose, we offer comprehensive, advanced maternity services to assist in the pregnancy, labor, and delivery processes. We also provide expecting parents with the safety and security of an on-site Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to provide expert, immediate care for preterm infants or babies in need of urgent medical treatment. For more information about our women and children’s services, call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line today at (888) 724-2362.