Knowledge is power: know your risk of preterm birth

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According to The March of Dimes, 1 out of 10 babies will be born prematurely. It’s enough to worry any mom, but thankfully there are steps you and your healthcare provider can take to manage your risk.

Know what to look out for

You’re taking a really important step in preventing premature birth right now. By familiarizing yourself with the risk factors associated with having a premature baby, you can begin to assess your personal risk.

Here are the most common conditions that lead to preterm birth:

  • Previous preterm birth
  • Short cervix
  • Being pregnant with multiples
  • Prior cervical procedures or surgeries
  • Abnormally shaped uterus
  • Certain chronic health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes
  • Smoking, drinking or drug use during pregnancy
  • Pregnancy via IVF
  • Being underweight or obese before pregnancy
  • Certain infections during pregnancy
  • Being pregnant less than 18 months after a previous pregnancy
  • Pregnant under 17 years old or over 35

Determine your risk

By knowing if you’re at increased risk early in your pregnancy, you and your healthcare provider can take steps to help prolong your pregnancy.

Sera Prognostics has developed a test called PreTRM®. It’s a clinically validated prenatal blood test that measures proteins that are highly predictive of premature birth. It’s like a snapshot of your risk for this particular pregnancy.

The test is performed during the 19th or 20th week of pregnancy. If you learn you’re at increased risk, there are established interventions that your doctor might prescribe to help prolong your pregnancy. If the test is something you’re considering, you should begin a conversation with your healthcare provider soon. Learn more about PreTRM by tapping here.

5 ways you can get proactive about premature birth

  1. No drugs or alcohol: Perhaps this is an obvious one, but it’s worth repeating. If you’ve struggled with cutting alcohol, quitting smoking, or stopping another drug habit, you aren’t alone. Talk to your healthcare provider about programs in your area that can help.
  2. Manage your weight: Have a detailed conversation with your provider about how much weight you’re expected to gain during your pregnancy, and try to stick to it.
  3. Avoid infections: Eat meats cooked thoroughly, have safe sex, wash your hands with soap, and don’t touch animal poop. Yeah, it’s a weird list to read all at once, but they’re the steps you can take to avoid an unnecessary infection.
  4. Reduce stress: It’s often easier said than done, but you should try to reduce your daily stressors. Be quick to tap into your support network if you need help, and speak up about things in your daily life that need to change for your personal health.
  5. See your healthcare provider regularly: Even if you’re feeling fine, it’s important to go to all of your checkups as your pregnancy progresses. There may be warning signs that you aren’t familiar with, or that seem like average pregnancy symptoms to the untrained eye.

While you’re speaking with your healthcare provider, consider bringing up the PreTRM test. Knowing your potential risk of premature birth can help you and your healthcare provider take actions that may help prolong your pregnancy.

Learn more

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