(HealthDay News) -- Preterm labor occurs earlier than 37 weeks of pregnancy.
If born too early, babies can have significant health issues, including slowed growth and learning, and problems with the eyes, ears, breathing and nervous system.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says lifestyle choices can sometimes prevent premature labor and birth. It offers these suggestions:
- Schedule regular visits with your doctor before and during pregnancy.
- Stick to a healthy, balanced and regular diet. Don't skip meals.
- Learn the warning signs of preterm labor, including regular contractions, pressure in the pelvis, constant backache, abdominal cramps, and changes in discharge. Seek immediate medical attention if you have these symptoms.
- Follow your doctor's instructions for a healthy pregnancy.
- Avoid foods, drugs, and other substances that could harm your baby, and get regular exercise.