Why Are Babies Born Early?enparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/P_Why_Are_Babies_Born_Early_enHD1.jpgMany things can cause a baby to be born early or with health problems. Some of these things can be controlled, but others can’t. Find out what you can do to have a healthy pregnancy. pregnant, pregnancy, prematurity, premature baby, early labor, preemie, preterm birth, full term, late term, 03/22/201710/30/201810/30/2018Armando Fuentes, MD10/22/2018773ed42f-9ee1-4587-abe5-f3bdaaf9de65https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/born-early.html/<p>Most babies are born healthy at or near their due date. Sometimes, though, babies are born early and might have health problems.</p> <h3>Why Are Some Babies Born Early?</h3> <p>Babies born before 37 weeks are <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/preemies.html/">premature</a>. A premature birth is more likely to happen when a mother has a health problem &mdash; like diabetes &mdash; or does harmful things during her pregnancy, like <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/preg-smoking.html/">smoke</a> or <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/preg-alcohol.html/">drink</a>. If she lives with a lot of stress, that also can make her baby <span style="font-size: 1em;">be born too early.</span></p> <p>Many things can cause a baby to be born early or with health problems. Some of these things can be controlled, but others can't.</p> <p>Here's what you can do to have a healthy pregnancy.</p> <h3>How Can I Stay Healthy During Pregnancy?</h3> <p>During pregnancy, help your baby grow strong and healthy. Be sure to:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li><strong>Start <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/medical-care-pregnancy.html/">prenatal care</a> as soon as you think you're pregnant.</strong> Prenatal care is the health care that you get during pregnancy. All pregnant women should see a health care professional as soon as they think they're pregnant, and should plan regular prenatal visits throughout pregnancy.</li> <li><strong>Get health problems treated.</strong> It's best to have any health problems (like <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/gestational-diabetes.html/">diabetes</a>, depression, or high blood pressure) under control before becoming pregnant. But if you don't, talk to your doctor right away about a treatment plan.</li> <li><strong><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/eating-pregnancy.html/">Eat</a> a healthy diet.</strong> It's important to eat a variety of healthy foods before and during pregnancy. Take a prenatal vitamin to be sure you're getting enough <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/preg-folic-acid.html/">folic acid</a>, iron, and other important nutrients.</li> <li><strong>Gain the right amount of weight.</strong> How much weight you should gain depends on how much you weighed before you were pregnant. Most women who are at a healthy weight should gain about 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Overweight women should probably gain less.</li> <li><strong>Don't smoke, drink alcohol, or take illegal drugs.</strong> Staying away from tobacco, alcohol, and <a class="kh_anchor">drugs</a> can help you and your baby avoid many serious health problems, like <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/fas.html/">fetal alcohol syndrome</a> and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/nas.html/">neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)</a>. If you do any of these things, get help to quit.</li> <li><strong>Wait at least 12 months between pregnancies.</strong> Increasing the time between pregnancies may lower the chances of preterm birth, especially if you had a premature baby before.</li> </ul> <h3>Things You Can't Control During Pregnancy</h3> <p>Some things that may increase the chances of a premature birth are out of your control. This doesn't mean that your baby will be born sick or too early. Remember, most babies are born healthy.</p> <p>Here are some things you can't control during pregnancy:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li><strong>Your age.</strong> Mothers who are 17 or younger or 35 or older are more likely to have a premature baby. Teen moms are more likely to get high blood pressure during pregnancy and less likely to get the health care they need. Older women are more likely to have health problems before they get pregnant.</li> <li><strong>The number of babies (<a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/parenting-multiples.html/">multiples</a>).</strong> The chances of having a premature baby go up if the mother is pregnant with twins, triplets, or more. More than half of all twins are born early.</li> <li><strong>Your health.</strong> Moms with problems like diabetes, depression, or high blood pressure may need to see their health care professional more often to keep these conditions under control.</li> <li><strong>Problems with an earlier pregnancy.</strong> A woman who has had a previous early delivery, or a baby born with health problems or a <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/baby-has-birth-defect.html/">birth defect</a>, is more likely to have problems in future pregnancies too.</li> <li><strong>Other factors.</strong>&nbsp;It's not clear why, but black women are more likely to have premature babies than white and Hispanic women.</li> </ul> <p>If you're pregnant or are planning to be, talk with your health care professional. Women who get regular prenatal care are more likely to have a healthier pregnancy and baby.</p>
5 Ways to Prevent Early Labor (Slideshow)It's best for babies not to be born before they're due. Learn what you can do to prevent early labor.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/labor-slideshow.html/dc5f2805-0284-4799-90da-61c1394aaf64
A Week-by-Week Pregnancy CalendarOur week-by-week illustrated pregnancy calendar is a detailed guide to all the changes taking place in your baby - and in you!https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/pregnancy-calendar-intro.html/f08368e4-e28d-4773-a168-306afac33137
Birth PlansThe reality of labor and birth may seem extremely far off - but now's the time to start planning for your baby by creating a birth plan that details your wishes.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/birth-plans.html/067405ca-56aa-409f-af00-da299027dcce
Birthing Centers and Hospital Maternity ServicesWhere you choose to give birth is an important decision. Is a hospital or a birth center right for you? Knowing the facts can help you make your decision.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/birth-centers-hospitals.html/85ac13f2-2f5a-4538-92c2-d58d2ed01770
Having a Healthy PregnancyWhether you feel confused, worried, scared, or excited, you'll want to know how your life will change, what you can do to have a healthy baby.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/pregnancy.html/3eefa748-ba6d-4401-b0c6-8d1984151eb6
Medical Care During PregnancyThe sooner in pregnancy good care begins, the better for the health of both moms and their babies. Here's what to expect.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/medical-care-pregnancy.html/697236c0-1f7e-4c28-bfc6-39ccf8ae2624
Pregnancy & Newborn CenterAdvice and information for expectant and new parents.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/center/pregnancy-center.html/c58d014a-89a3-4c90-8b54-c9cadf5d6016
Pregnancy Precautions: FAQsMoms-to-be have a lot of questions about what's safe during pregnancy. Keep your sanity by knowing what you can - and can't - do before your baby arrives.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/pregnancy-precautions.html/a5ee5bb7-1d8e-4553-b7bb-cec3f26960c6
Prenatal Tests: FAQsEvery parent-to-be hopes for a healthy baby, but it can be hard not to worry. Find out what tests can keep you informed of your health — and your baby's — throughout pregnancy.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/prenatal-tests.html/eb018543-49a4-48cd-9ba3-42e027966273
Preparing for Multiple BirthsAre you expecting more than one baby? Find out how to take care of yourself and prepare for your multiple birth experience.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/multiple-births.html/6531a9dd-8b47-4c49-af01-5e4ee363c3b5
Preventing Premature BirthBabies who are born premature - before 37 weeks of pregnancy - can have health problems that last their whole lives. Learn ways to prevent early labor and have a healthy pregnancy.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/center/preventing-premature-birth.html/10f5d2eb-2f2a-49a9-abcf-488aeb1e40a4
Staying Healthy During PregnancyDuring your pregnancy, you'll probably get advice from everyone. But staying healthy depends on you - read about the many ways to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/preg-health.html/7e686897-565d-4171-9629-1e551abffa89
Taking Care of Your Mental Health During PregnancyPregnancy brings a mix of feelings, and not all of them are good. It can be even harder if you're dealing with depression or anxiety.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/pregnant-mental-health.html/6ce5cbea-a536-4a5e-94a8-0a8a737cdf82
Telling Parents You're PregnantIf you just learned you're pregnant, you're not alone. You probably wonder how to tell your parents and how they'll react. Read our article for some tips.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/tell-parents.html/d381085e-69da-4585-acff-651480e7a52b
What's a "High-Risk" Pregnancy?Find out what the experts have to say.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/high-risk.html/56b19921-0f96-45c7-93cb-c3f092b4cdf0
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