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Pre-term Labor And Delivery Specialist

Beach Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical Group

Gynecology & Obstetrics located in Huntington Beach, CA & Newport Beach, CA

Preterm labor and delivery, or delivering a baby before 37 weeks gestation, affects about 1 in 10 women in the United States. If your baby arrives early, Jeffrey Illeck, MD, Anne K. Narayan, MD, and their OB/GYN team are ready for you at Beach Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical Group in Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, California. They have the qualifications and experience necessary to give you and your baby the best chance of a healthy birth. Call Beach Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical Group to learn more or use the online scheduler today.

Pre-term Labor and Delivery Q & A

What is preterm labor and delivery?

Preterm labor and delivery occur when your baby is born early – between weeks 20 and 37 weeks gestation. It’s a concern because when babies are born before they are supposed to, they might not be fully developed or have health problems. That’s why proper medical care is important during preterm labor and delivery.

What are the warning signs of preterm labor?

If you experience the following signs and symptoms of preterm labor, call your gynecologist right away:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • A dull low backache
  • Frequent contractions
  • Lower abdominal pressure
  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Abnormal watery, bloody, or mucuslike discharge
  • A gush of fluids, or preterm membrane rupture

The earlier you seek medical care after preterm labor symptoms, the better you and your baby’s chance of a healthy delivery. If you’re unsure if your symptoms are associated with preterm labor, call your doctor to be sure.

What are the risk factors for preterm labor?

Preterm labor can happen to anybody, but certain factors increase your risk of developing it. Examples include:

  • Having a short cervix
  • Previous preterm births
  • A short time between pregnancies
  • Smoking or substance abuse during pregnancy
  • Having twins or triplets
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • A history of uterus or cervix surgery
  • High blood pressure, gum disease, or diabetes
  • Chronic stress
  • Fetal birth defects

To lower your risk of preterm labor, keep stress levels low, eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, avoid smoking and alcohol use, and receive regular prenatal care.

How is preterm labor diagnosed and treated?

Your doctor diagnoses preterm labor after examining your cervix during a pelvic exam and tracking contractions. They may also complete a transvaginal ultrasound or measure the level of a protein in your vaginal discharge to make a diagnosis.

Just because you have preterm labor doesn’t mean you’ll have a preterm delivery, as just 1 in 10 women with preterm labor gives birth within a week. It might go away on its own. Your doctor may give you certain medications as part of your treatment. Examples include:

  • Corticosteroids to speed up fetal development
  • Magnesium sulfate to reduce the risk of cerebral palsy
  • Tocolytics to delay delivery

Sometimes preterm labor goes away on its own without treatment. 

What happens with preterm delivery?

If preterm labor doesn’t stop and you deliver your baby early, the experienced OB/GYN team at Beach Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical Group is there for you. They give you and your baby the best chance of a safe delivery at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. It has 24-hour anesthesia and neonatal services.

The neonatologist team specializes in treating health problems in newborns, and the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) offers specialized care for preterm infants.

At the first sign of preterm labor, call Beach Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical Group right away for an evaluation.