Though there are known risk factors for preterm birth, it is unknown why some women deliver preterm and others do not.
A Spontaneous Preterm Birth can happen because:
- A woman’s body goes into labor early (preterm labor), or
- The bag of water breaks (preterm premature rupture of membranes, PPROM), or
- The cervix opens too early (cervical insufficiency)
- Sometimes placental abruption (when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before delivery of the baby) can also be a cause of spontaneous preterm birth, particularly if the woman’s blood pressure is normal and there is no other good explanation for the abruption
A Medically Indicated Preterm Birth is a delivery recommended by a healthcare provider to reduce the risk to a woman or her unborn child. Common reasons for medically indicated preterm birth include:
- Pregnancy related problems, such as preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy)
- Maternal medical problems, such as diabetes
- Fetal problems, such as poor growth
Women who have had one or more preterm births - regardless of the reason - are at higher risk for another preterm delivery
There are things you can do to help lower this risk. Contact the UNC Prematurity Prevention Clinic for further information!