How Do I Prevent Problems With Labor and Delivery?
The most important thing you can do to try to have a healthy baby is getting early and adequate prenatal care. The best prenatal care begins even before you are pregnant, so you can be in the best of health before pregnancy.
To help prevent complications, if you smoke, quit. Smoking can trigger preterm labor. Researchers have found a link between gum disease and preterm birth, so brush and floss your teeth daily. It may also be helpful to reduce your stress level by setting aside quiet time every day and asking for help when you need it.
Your doctor will check you for risk factors for preterm labor and premature delivery, and discuss any precautions you should take. Measuring the length of the cervix using a transvaginal ultrasound probe can help predict a woman's risk of delivering prematurely. This procedure is usually done in a doctor's office between 20 and 28 weeks of pregnancy for women who may be at risk.
Fetal Fibronectin Testing
Fetal fibronectin testing can also be used as a possible predictor of preterm labor for women who may be at risk. This test is done like a Pap smear, and test results are used to predict your risk of preterm labor. The fetal fibronectin test can't tell for sure if you're in preterm labor, but it can tell you if you're not. A woman at risk for premature delivery can be forewarned about what to do if preterm labor symptoms occur, and can undergo further screening tests.