Preventing Pre-Term Birth

Preterm birth is when a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy or more than 3 weeks early.  Babies that are born early can have health problems such as brain damage, asthma and vision problems.

African-American babies are at a high risk of being born too early.  You may be at a greater risk if you have experienced a prior preterm birth.

17Pis a progesterone medicine for pregnant women who have already had a preterm birth.  Progesterone is a hormone that a woman’s body makes during pregnancy, but some women need extra progesterone to help prevent preterm birth.  If you have already had a preterm birth of a single baby and are pregnant now with one baby, you should get 17P.   You should discuss this with your physician at your next visit.

There is no guarantee that 17P will lead to a full-term pregnancy, but it decreases a woman’s chances of having another preterm birth.  Studies show that 17P reduces the chance of another preterm birth for 33% of women who use it and this is true for all races and ethnicities.  33% chance may not seem like enough, but this is the best choice available at this time.  There is nothing else that lowers the risk of a preterm delivery.  For preterm babies, an extra week or two before delivery can make a huge difference.

17P has been studied for use in preterm delivery prevention since 1950 with larger studies done in the 1990s and 2000s.  The studies show that 17P is safe and that there are no serious side effects for the mother or the baby.  Some women report soreness, swelling, itching or bruising at the site of the injection, but these symptoms are rare.

If a woman and her physician decide that 17P is indicated, the woman will receive one injection each week.  This weekly injection is needed to keep the hormone supply steady in the woman’s body.  These injections are started between 16 and 20 weeks of pregnancy and should be given until the 37th week of pregnancy.  After 37 weeks, it is safe for the baby to be born.

Some other ways to prevent a preterm birth are:

Go to all of your prenatal appointments, avoid smoking, practice safe sex, talk to your doctor about any drugs, medicines or herbal remedies you are taking or before starting any, talk to your doctor to see if you need to take off time from work, rest and relax when you can, ask friends and family for help, ask for help if you are in an abusive relationship, and talk to your physicien if you feel burning or pain when urinating.

Some of the signs of preterm labor are:

bleeding, feeling that the baby is balling up, contractions (your belly tightens like a fist) every 10 minutes or less, changes in vaginal discharge (leaking fluid), pelvic pressure (feeling that your baby is pushing down), low, dull backache, cramps that feel like your period, abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea, and feeling that something just isn’t right.  If you experience any of these, call your physician immediately!

We welcome new patients and most insurances are accepted. If you have further questions about your insurance coverage,  please contact your insurance company by calling the telephone number listed on your insurance card.