I've had two babies at under 28 weeks - is it really possible that my next baby will go to term?
Having previous premature babies does raise your risk of having another premature birth. However, with the right treatment, many women who have had premature babies in the past do go on to carry them to term. However for some women recurrent preterm birth cannot be prevented.
Everyone's situation is different however. A major factor in assessing your risk this time around will be the reason for your previous premature birth. If there is a known reason, steps can be taken to try to delay it this time around. For example, if it was cervical weakness your healthcare team may give you a cervical stitch, or if it was because you had twins your healthcare team will be able to reassure you that the risk with singleton pregnancies is lower.
No one can give you a definite answer either way, but after considering your personal health and other circumstances, your healthcare team will be able to select the right strategy for your situation, and explain the odds to you.
There are also ways that you can have extra reassurance along the way. The fetal fibronectin test, which examines your cervix for the presence of a substance that the body secretes when labour is to take place, for example, can give a very good indication later on in your pregnancy of whether you are about to go into labour prematurely.
Either way, if you have had premature babies in the past, your pregnancy may be a difficult time emotionally, so make sure you have all the support you need.
I carried on smoking early in my pregnancy - does this mean I'll have my baby prematurely?
The information we have about what increases the risk of premature birth is statistical. It shows that there are links between certain behaviours (such as smoking) and premature birth. This does not mean that every pregnant woman who smokes will have their baby prematurely.
However, because smoking is linked to so many risks for you and your baby, the experts always advise stopping smoking as soon as you can.
I'm worried about being overweight. How much weight is it safe to lose while I'm pregnant?
If you are overweight, the advice is to lose weight before you become pregnant but do not diet during pregnancy in case you deprive your growing baby of nutrition. If you are already pregnant and you are worried there are safe ways of managing your weight.
Try to eat healthy, balanced meals, cutting out sugary and fatty foods, and keep as active as you can. This is good advice for all women, whatever their weight. The weight you gain during pregnancy includes the placenta, amniotic fluid and of course the baby, so it differs from one woman to the next.
As long as you are eating healthily and leading a moderately active lifestyle (follow our tips to increase your activity levels), then you should not gain too much weight.
Read more about premature birth and managing your weight.
If my waters have broken, will I give birth immediately?
Not necessarily, but if your membranes rupture early and your waters break, you will be at high risk of infection and may go into labour, so you need to be monitored closely. If you think your waters have broken, contact your healthcare team immediately.
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Remember: Tommy's midwives are ready to answer your questions, no matter how trivial you think they might be.
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Pre-term labour and birth: draft scope, London NICE, 2014
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Preterm birth - study group statement, London RCOG, 2004. Also available at: http://www.rcog.org.uk/womens-health/clinical-guidance/preterm-birth-stu... (accessed 23 July 2014)
- Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J, Mayes’ midwifery, fourteenth edition, Edinburgh Bailliere Tindall Elsevier, 2012
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Quitting smoking in pregnancy and following childbirth, public health guideline 26, London NICE, 2010
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Weight management before, during and after pregnancy, public health guideline 27, London NICE, 2010
If it is established that you are in labour, the healthcare team will try to prevent the birth of your baby if possible and if it does not endanger the baby. This is so that they can do their best to prepare you and your baby for their premature birth.
It's not easy for the healthcare team to discover why some babies are born prematurely, but there are steps that can be taken that can slightly reduce your risk of premature birth.
Preterm birth can be difficult to predict, but some risk factors are known and they can be controlled to slim down the chances of giving birth to your baby too early.
The tests and checks you're offered during pregnancy will help the healthcare team work out if you are at risk of giving birth prematurely.
Most preterm babies arrive early without warning. However, some pregnancies are known to be at risk of ending in preterm birth.
The placenta is your baby’s support system in the womb. If your placenta doesn’t work properly, your baby is at risk of health problems.
ℹLast reviewed on June 1st, 2014. Next review date June 1st, 2017.
By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Jan 2017 - 16:19
So sorry to hear about this and thank you for contacting Tommy's. The chance of PPROM (pre-term premature rupture of membranes) is about 2% which means that this is not likely to happen again. The risk factors include smoking and infection but in many cases there is no cause ever found. We wish you well for a future pregnancy. Best wishes x
By Anonymous (not verified) on 2 Jan 2017 - 19:44
Hello . I had my baby boy 4 years ago he was born 27 weeks prem and my waters broke at 22 weeks with him . I bleed constantly for 5 weeks with waters breaking and re filling up. 27 weeks had to be emergancy c section. Ive currently found out im pregnant again. Im just wondering what are the chances it may happen again. As doctors could not find a reason for last time . ?