Sunday, November 24, 2013

Prematurity Awareness Month

As Prematurity Awareness Month comes to an end and we begin the busy holiday season, I thought I'd share a few things about a subject that has touched many moms of multiples: Prematurity.

In the US, 1 in every 9 babies is born before full term, 37 weeks. While a multiple pregnancy can seem to drag on and you feel super pregnant much earlier than a singleton pregnancy, it is still important to keep your babies inside of you until 39+ weeks.

For expecting mothers, preterm labor is a very scary situation.

Preterm labor

  • Preterm labor can happen to any pregnant woman.
  • Some women have a higher risk than others.
  • It is important to learn the signs of preterm labor so you can get help immediately.
So what are the signs of preterm labor?
  • Contractions (your belly tightens like a fist) every 10 minutes or more often
  • Change in vaginal discharge (leaking fluid or bleeding from your vagina)
  • Pelvic pressure—the feeling that your baby is pushing down
  • Low, dull backache
  • Cramps that feel like your period
  • Belly cramps with or without diarrhea
If you experience any of these it's important to drink water (little fact I learned when pregnant with my twins was that dehydration can actually start labor), stop what you're doing to rest, and go to your doctor or the hospital immediately. Expecting moms of multiples especially should listen to their bodies, rest when they need it and stay hydrated!

With proper care, preterm labor may be able to be controlled or stopped.

To learn more about prematurity and a healthy pregnancy, check out the March of Dimes website. They have a lot of great information for expecting moms and moms who may have had preterm babies.

Spreading the word is a great way to raise awareness of prematurity and hopefully decrease the numbers of premature births worldwide.

 About the Author: Emily Pepka is a proud Air Force wife and mom of twins. Her boy/girl twins were born in June 2011 at only 27 weeks. Her blog, Up To Your Toes ( documents her family's life through the NICU and beyond. In January 2013, Emily and her husband welcomed a full term healthy singleton baby boy. The Pepka's are currently stationed at Los Angeles Air Force Base, volunteer with the March of Dimes Family Teams Committee and are members of the Beach Cities Parents of Multiples Association (

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