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Premature Labor

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Your doctor will evaluate you and your baby. If regular contractions are accompanied by an opening and thinning of the cervix, you will likely be diagnosed with pre-term labor.

You and your doctor may be able to delay labor by a day, a week, even a month or two. Half of all women diagnosed as being in pre-term labor go on to deliver their babies at full term without any treatment, but others do get medical therapies in one form or another. Bed rest and intravenous fluids can help stop contractions in some women, and there are a number of medications that can stop labor, promote babies' growth, or help prevent infection.

Tocolytic drugs are a popular option for delaying birth for a few days to a week, allowing mothers to get to fully equipped birthing centers for their deliveries. Steroids may help speed the maturation of babies' lungs so that they can be delivered early, and be ready to meet the world. And antibiotics have been helpful in dealing with ruptured membranes, allowing mothers to carry their babies to term without risk of infection. Once your baby is 37 weeks old, treatment will be stopped and your pregnancy will be allowed to progress into labor. Your baby, once born, will be reward enough for all the nervous moments and medical technology used.

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