Your risk may be a little higher, but just because you’ve already had a premature baby, it doesn’t mean your next baby will be born early.
Your health care provider may not have been able to tell you why your baby was born early. Sometimes labor just starts early without any warning. Other times doctors have to deliver a baby early if a mother’s health or the baby’s health is in danger.
There may be things you and your doctor or midwife can do to help you stay pregnant longer. It’s best to have an open conversation about these things before you get pregnant again. When you decide you’re ready to get pregnant again, talk to your provider about seeing a specialist who is trained to care for women who are likely to have pregnancy complications, including premature birth. These doctors are sometimes called maternal-fetal medicine specialists, or perinatologists. Your doctor or midwife can help you find a specialist.
There are some risk factors that make a woman more likely to have her baby too early. Some risk factors are things you can’t change, such as already having had a baby born too early. But other risk factors are things you can do something about, such as quitting smoking. Click on this link to read about different risk factors and what you can do about them.
What can you do about preterm labor? Learn the signs of preterm labor (labor that begins before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy) and what to do if they happen to you.
If you’d like to talk to other women like you who are thinking about pregnancy after having a premature baby, visit the discussion group “Pregnant? On Bedrest? Trying Again?” in the March of Dimes online community Share Your Story. You’ll be able to connect with lots of women who are or have been in your shoes.