Of the 4 million babies born in the U.S. each year, approximately 1 in 10 will be delivered prematurely. Many of these births come unexpectedly, even in the healthiest of women. While it’s common to think, “It won’t happen to me,” all expectant mothers—regardless of age, income, ethnicity, or demographic—may be at some risk.
Preterm birth, also known as premature birth, is any delivery that occurs three or more weeks too early, at less than 37 weeks of pregnancy. When a baby has less time to develop while in the womb, he or she may be born with medical complications that can range from mild to severe, including developmental delays, difficulty breathing or feeding, vision or hearing impairment, and cerebral palsy. While there have been amazing medical advances in preterm infant care, and many premature babies go on to lead healthy lives, some long term complications cannot be reversed.
Most babies born prematurely will spend time in a special intensive care unit, where they will receive vital warmth, nutrition, and protection during their first early weeks of life. There, dedicated staff can carefully monitor babies and make necessary interventions to encourage proper growth and development. While nothing short of miraculous, these interventions still fall short of the nourishment a mother’s own body provides. Every day that a baby spends in the womb prepares them for a strong and healthy entry into the world.
Being thrust into the experience of early delivery without any preparation can make an already stressful situation feel overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to discuss a plan with your doctor. The good news is, your doctor may suggest a simple blood test called the PreTRM® Test, which predicts your personal risk of preterm birth. Knowing your risk can provide reassurance and, if necessary, allow you and your doctor to consider established medical interventions that may help extend your pregnancy. With your baby developing so quickly as you approach full term, even just a few days can make all the difference.
When it comes to preterm birth, knowledge is power. Understanding your individual risk will allow you and your doctor to determine a proactive care plan, helping you give your baby the best possible start in life.
The PreTRM® Test is a clinically validated blood test that will predict your risk for delivering prematurely by detecting specific protein levels in your blood. Ask your doctor about receiving the test and tap the link below for more information and helpful talking points.
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