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The Latest Research On Premature Births

In a study to be published in this month's edition of the journal Pediatrics, researchers from the CDC say that approximately 33 percent of infant deaths can be attributed to premature births. This number is much higher than all previous estimates.

Why the higher number? The authors of this most recent study indicate that at least a dozen causes of newborn death that are not typically classified as deaths due to premature birth are actually due to underdeveloped organs associated with premature status. A prime example of such a scenario is respiratory distress that is caused by underdeveloped lungs in premature babies.

Lead author, Dr. Bill Callaghan, says: "This brings preterm birth, as a cause of death, to the kind of level that we think it deserves."

It is hoped that this updated statistic will encourage more pregnant women to take good care of their bodies during pregnancy in order to minimize the chance of sub-optimal dietary and lifestyle choices contributing to premature births.

It should be pointed out that while the term "premature birth" is typically used for infants who are born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, a "normal" pregnancy period can vary from woman to woman. It may be normal for some women to consistently experience 36 weeks or less of pregnancy before their babies are ready to enter the world, while for others, this number may be higher than 40 weeks.

The key is that pregnant women do the best they can to take care of their bodies so that their babies can spend as much time as is needed in the womb to be ready to survive outside of it.

What follows are dietary and lifestyle suggestions for pregnant women that can help to decrease the risk of delivering one's baby before the baby is optimally ready to live outside the womb:

  1. Avoid smoking and other recreational drug use. This, of course, includes all forms of alcohol.
  2. Avoid foods and beverages that contain caffeine.
  3. Avoid deep massage work, acupressure, and acupuncture, particularly to the lower extremities. A few points on both legs represent stimulation centers that can actually induce labor during the third trimester.
  4. If expecting parents and their health care provider are especially concerned about the possibility of having a premature birth due to relevant family medical history or other factors, it is best to avoid excessive sexual stimulation during the third trimester. A strong female orgasm can induce labor.
  5. A healthy endocrine system is essential to experiencing a healthy pregnancy. Regular intake of healthy cholesterol and doing what one can to consistently experience a peaceful emotional state are two important factors that can promote a healthy endocrine system.
  6. Regular intake of healthy fats, particularly those that contain DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, is critical to supporting both the mother's and the growing baby's health. Regular intake of DHA can help to prevent depression in the mother. DHA is needed to support healthy nervous system development in the baby.
  7. Although it may seem obvious, eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods, particularly fresh vegetables, fruits, and legumes, can help to keep both mother's and baby's circulatory systems clean and strong, and their cells well nourished.

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Joy said...

Women should also be aware of how stress effects their bodies, especially during pregnancy.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006 12:02:27 PM
Sarah said...

amen to that above. know when to take a break. don't push yourself too hard. yet do get regular exercise. it's amazing what it can do for body (aches and pains) and spirit (moodiness and depression).

most importantly, listen to your body. if something doesn't feel right, follow that intuition and address it.