Kanye West was by Kim Kardashian's side as she gave birth to their baby girl, who weighed in at just under five pounds on June 15, five weeks early, reports E! News. Kim and baby are said to be fine and resting. But I'm sure going into labor that early was a frightening experience for Kim, who already went through an appendicitis scare while five months pregnant.
Any baby born before 37 weeks is considered preterm, or a premature birth. Around twelve percent of babies born in the US are preemies, and premature birth is the leading cause of death among newborns. Those who survive can go on to live completely healthy lives, but often times are more likely than full-term babies to have lifelong health problems like developmental delays, hearing loss, blindness, chronic lung disease and cerebral palsy. No pregnant woman—or new mom—wants to hear that!
How do you know if you're at risk for a preterm birth? Here are some of the indicators—but these are not guarantees you'll have a preemie, so don't freak out just yet!
- You've had a premature baby in the past.
- You're giving birth to multiples.
- You're over 35.
- You have a chronic illness like diabetes or hypertension.
- You were extremely overweight or underweight before getting pregnant.
- You smoke.
- You've experienced severe stress during pregnancy.
- You used fertility treatments to get pregnant.
- You've had a urinary tract infection or sexually transmitted infections while pregnant.
As always, you should speak to your OB openly about your full medical history in order for him/her to assess if you might go into labor early. Doctors can't stop preterm labor, but can delay it for a few days with the use of medication. The last trimester is when the greatest amount of development occurs, so with a preterm pregnancy every extra day counts, and just a few additional days can make a difference in the amount of time your baby may need to be in the NICU.
Often times women going into labor early overlook the symptoms because they think it can't be happening already. Yes, it can! Here are signs you're going into labor:
- You'll feel pelvic pressure, cramps and lower back pain.
- Your contractions—a tightening in your stomach—are coming every 10 minutes, or more frequently. Braxton Hicks contractions are common also, but they will not be as consistent as real contractions.
- If you have blood or a brownish discharge, your water may have broken without you realizing it. Call your doctor right away.
Unless your doctor says to head to the hospital right away, lie down and drink a couple of glasses of water because dehydration often causes cramping, and water can ease your pain. Track your symptoms for an hour and if the pain goes away, it likely wasn't preterm labor, but only Braxton Hicks contractions you were experiencing, which at times can feel just as real as the real thing. Still relax for the rest of the day as your body has been through a lot. The next day, if you haven't already, pack your hospital bag, so if this happens again, it will be one less thing you have to worry about!
TELL US: Are you at risk of going into labor early? What have you done to prepare?
Image of Kim Kardashian courtesy of Shutterstock.