One of the best ways for mothers to deliver a healthy baby is to see him or her through to a full 40-week term. Babies born before 37 weeks are considered premature. These preemies often face short and long-term issues with problems including heart, neurological, breathing, gastrointestinal or stomach, bleeding, and infection. And premature birth is the leading cause of infant death in America.
But expecting mothers can take important steps to help guard against premature births — even before getting pregnant. By improving your own health, you can decrease your risk of having a premature infant.
Start by doing the following:
- Take folic acid before getting pregnant and during pregnancy as it reduces the risk of babies born with anomalies such as spina bifida
- Stop smoking
- Eat healthy
- Stay fit
- Avoid stress
- Get prenatal care early