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Treatment and prevention of premature labor

A healthy pregnancy should last around 40 weeks, although most women tend to go slightly over 40 weeks or slightly under. Any pregnancy in which labor occurs before 37 weeks is considered premature.

Premature labor is the result of contractions causing your cervix to open up and be ready to deliver the baby in spite of the baby still needing time to develop. If a woman is at risk of going into premature labor (particularly if she has a history of premature labor) it’s important that she seek treatment ahead of time.

There are several options available to treat premature labor:

  • Progesterone: use of the hormone progesterone can be used to prevent an early birth.
  • Bed rest: oftentimes stress can cause early labor and by taking a low key approach to your day to day life you might be able to prevent going into labor.

If a woman goes into premature labor, Dr. Longoria may treat her using the following:

  • Antenatal Corticosteroids (ACS): these help to speed up baby’s lung development, prevent brain bleeds after birth, and more.
  • Antibiotics: if your water breaks prior to 37 weeks, antibiotics may be prescribed because there is no longer the protective barrier present to shield the baby from infection.
  • Tocolytics: these are medications used to slow or stop labor contractions.