How likely is it for a woman to have a preterm birth on her 2nd pregnancy or later?. Women who have had one previous preterm delivery often wonder if they're going to deliver prematurely in the future. And a lot of studies have been done on this topic, and we've learned a few things. Overall, about 10% of babies deliver prematurely in the United States. After having one premature delivery, your chance of having another one is about 15% to 30%. And after having 2 previous preterm deliveries, your chance is about 60%. So basically, it comes down to the fact that the best predictor of future behavior is past experience. If you've had a previous preterm delivery, then you are more likely to have another one, and it usually happens around the same gestational age. There are a lot of different factors, though, that increase a woman's chance for preterm delivery, and some are modifiable and some aren't. So if you've had a history of preterm delivery, then you should talk with your doctor before getting pregnant again. And if anything can be modified or managed in order to decrease your risk, then of course the doctor is going to want to do that to increase your chances of having a happy, healthy, full-term pregnancy next time.
Now among all the studies that have been done, these are the things that, over and over again, seem to increase a woman's chances of having a preterm birth: no partner; low socioeconomic status; a history of anxiety, depression; life-altering circumstances during pregnancy like separation, divorce, the death of a loved one; twins; an abnormally high amount of amniotic fluid; uterine anomalies; your water breaks prematurely; if you've had a history of a 2nd trimester abortion; if you've had cervical surgery; sexually transmitted infections; periodontal disease (A lot of women think they shouldn't go to the dentist during pregnancy, that there's nothing that they can or should do for them, but actually, the reverse is true. And in fact, the 2nd trimester is a fantastic time to go. And the doctor can take care of any issues, because if left untreated, again, periodontal disease can lead to preterm labor. Interesting correlation there.); and then placenta previa; placental abruption; vaginal bleeding; previous preterm delivery (like I discussed before); smoking; substance abuse; age can also affect it (So, girls that are younger than 18 or over 40 are more likely to have preterm deliveries.); poor nutrition; low body mass index prior to getting pregnant; anemia; or maybe you have first degree relatives who delivered babies prematurely (especially if you were delivered prematurely yourself, you're at higher risk for it); and environmental factors like air pollution can also contribute.
So again, I recommend talking with your doctor, and they'll discuss risk factors that apply to you, and again, decide if anything is modifiable so that you can have the best outcome possible next time. If you have more questions for me in the future, feel free to ask them on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/IntermountainMoms, and recommend us to your friends and family too.
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