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Premature birth is becoming a growing concern nowadays. A premature birth is one in which the baby is born before 37 weeks. There are many risks and challenges involved in a preterm birth because the fetus does not fully develop until 37 weeks. Therefore, when a baby is born before 37 weeks, it is not fully formed. Once this fetus is outside the womb, it has difficulty surviving. However, this is not the only concern regarding premature birth. Even if the fetus manages to survive with the help of artificial methods, the baby may face problems later on.

This is why medical professionals have devised methods to control premature labor. The most common method of stopping premature labor is to administer medications. These medications stop uterus contractions. Basically, these medications relax the uterus muscles that are responsible for delivering the baby. Once the muscles are relaxed, the contractions stop.

A study conducted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that these methods are not always effective. They do work at times, but there are instances in which these methods prove ineffective. This is the case not only with administering muscle relaxing medicines but with other methods as well.

If the preterm birth control method does not work, of course, the baby is born prematurely, which poses a risk to its life. Therefore, research is also underway to identify signs of premature labor. One cause of premature labor is said to be premature rupture of the membrane supporting the fetus. This is commonly referred to as a woman’s water breaking. The reason for the membrane rupturing prematurely is thought to be enzymes and proteins produced by the womb and fetus. An imbalance in the production of these proteins and enzymes results in premature rupture of the membrane.

Researchers are trying to find out other reasons why the membrane ruptures. Discovering the reasons for premature rupture of the membrane could help researchers devise methods for preventing preterm birth.

Previous research shows that certain infections in women can also lead to premature birth. One of the most common vaginal infections in women, bacterial vaginosis, was found to be one of the leading causes for premature labor. Trichomoniasis is another infection that was found to be a cause of premature labor. This is a sexually transmitted infection that increases the likelihood of a woman giving birth prematurely.

New methods need to be devised to prevent preterm birth. Considering the number of premature births in the U.S. alone, effective methods could help save thousands of lives.