Factors that cause premature birth

Factors that cause premature birth

The factors or causes that lead to premature birth are multiple. Premature birth occurs when the baby is born before 37 weeks of age. Normally, a pregnancy is between 40-42 weeks, but lifestyle, type of pregnancy, illness, or personal medical history with miscarriages or premature births can cause preterm birth.

The causes underlying premature births are not always fully known. Therefore, physicians prefer to talk about risk factors that influence premature birth rather than actual causes.

Multiple pregnancy

When you are pregnant with twins or more babies, you are at higher risk of giving birth prematurely. If you resort to assisted human reproduction techniques you have a better chance of becoming pregnant with more babies. Almost half of the twin pregnancies and almost all those with more than 2 babies end up with premature birth.

Personal history of premature births

If you have been born prematurely in the past, you are at increased risk that the following tasks will also end prematurely.


Preeclampsia is the increase in blood pressure and protein in the urine after the 20th week of pregnancy. It is a very serious condition that can endanger the life of the mother or the baby. It also results in a myriad of complications that significantly increase the risk of preterm birth. The only treatment for preeclampsia is the rapid birth of the fetus.

HELLP syndrome

HELLP syndrome is a medical term used for one of the extremely severe complications of preeclampsia and is characterized by a disorder of the liver and blood clotting.

In most cases, this syndrome occurs after birth, but there are cases when it develops in the second part of pregnancy. In this situation it is necessary to give birth prematurely, both for the sake of the mother and the baby. Sometimes premature birth is extremely early, and the chances of survival for babies are very low.

Recurrent infections

These are mainly infections present in the abdominal area, specifically in the vaginal area, of the kidneys, bladder and urinary tract. Recurrence of infections in one of these areas may increase the risk of preterm birth.

Also, any type of fever above 38 degrees Celsius during pregnancy can trigger premature birth.

Chronic diseases

Many chronic diseases are associated with the risk of preterm birth. Therefore, if you suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus or others, your doctor will keep you under careful observation during pregnancy and will resort to premature birth if necessary.

Personal history of abortions

If you have had a miscarriage in the second trimester of pregnancy or more than two miscarriages in the first trimester of pregnancy, then there is a risk that your next pregnancy will end prematurely. There is a very high risk of recurrent abortion if you have a medical history with active abortions.

Obesity (overweight)

If you are overweight or have obesity, the risk of preterm birth is very high, even imminent. Overweight in pregnancy causes complications (gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, eclampsia, high blood pressure) that force doctors to resort to cesarean delivery and preterm delivery.


As you get pregnant at an older age (after 35 years), the risk of preterm birth increases. Pregnancy after 35-40 years presents many risks that make it impossible to complete the pregnancy on time.


Doctors have confirmed that smoking has disastrous effects on the fetus and pregnancy. Some of them are premature birth and implicitly the small birth weight of the child.

Uterine and cervical abnormalities

These involve abnormal forms of the uterus or cervix, but also uterine fibroids or too large or too small amounts of amniotic fluid.

If you suffer from cervical insufficiency, then you may need a procedure called a strap. This is a surgery done in order to keep the neck closed throughout the pregnancy. When the doctor considers that the baby is sufficiently developed in the womb, he will resort to premature birth. Very rarely, those who suffer from this problem carry the task to term.

Short break between 2 tasks

Specialists believe that too little pause between a birth and a future pregnancy can increase the risk of preterm birth. He considers that it should take more than 6-9 months to conceive another baby.

Tags Risk factors premature birth Causes premature birth Premature birth Spontaneous abortion Smoking pregnancy