Preterm Births: Blaming the Mother
In our society, there seems to be a common misunderstanding about preterm births and what causes them. A preterm birth is defined as a birth that occurs less than 37 weeks into the pregnancy. According to a survey done by Dr. Holly Massett in New York (Public Perceptions, 2003) “ 65% of the women surveyed blamed the women for not taking care of herself.” People are quick to assume that the mother’s behavior is the one to blame for early deliveries. Although the lack of prenatal care may be a possible cause for preterm births, it is not the only cause. Other possible causes include multiple pregnancies, maternal and fetal complications, and spontaneous preterm labor.
The risk of having a preterm birth rises when the mother has a multiple pregnancy. Janet Tucker stated in her article, Abc of Preterm Birth (2004), that “ about half of all twins and most triplets are born preterm.” Delivering twins and triplets prematurely has become very common. One reason is because as the fetuses grow the mother may experience uterine overdistension (Goldenberg, 2008), which is when the uterus is stretched an abnormally large amount. When this happens an early delivery must take place for the safety of both the infants and the mother. This is something that happens out of the mother’s control and works to both of their benefits. Another reason most multiple pregnancies are delivered preterm has to do with the mother’s working conditions. A study done by Marjo van Melick (2012), a Dutch consortium for Studies in women’s health, showed that women with multiple pregnancies who had jobs containing repetitive movements were more associated with preterm births. Usually it is not in the mother’s power to change what she does on the job, which then puts her at a higher risk of having an early delivery. Also, most multiple deliveries end up having some kind of intervention such as induced labor or delivery by caesarean section (Tucker, 2004)....
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