Today, November 17, is World Prematurity Day. According to the March of Dimes, 12.2% of babies in the United States are born premature. Thanks to technology, premature babies have a significantly higher chance of surviving and overcoming their early births. Still, many babies do not survive and others live with long term disabilities.
Women who have experienced infertility are at risk for premature birth. This is in part because of the increased risk of multiples with fertility treatment. Twins, triplets, and higher order multiples are more likely to be born early. But even singletons are more likely to be born premature after infertility. Why this occurs isn't clear, but some theories suspect the same conditions that led to infertility may make premature labor more likely.
Just because your risk is higher doesn't mean there's nothing you can do. When pursuing fertility treatments, work with your doctor to reduce the risk of multiples, and once you're pregnant, be aware of the signs and symptoms of premature labor. Sometimes, premature labor can be stopped if caught early, giving the baby more time in the womb to grow.
Prematurity can't always be stopped, but it's important to do whatever we can. Being informed is an important step towards prevention.
Here's more about prematurity on About.com:
- Stopping Preterm Labor
- Are You At Risk for Premature Labor?
- Signs and Symptoms of Premature Labor
- Preemie Stories
More on pregnancy after infertility: