Since going into preterm labor at 24 weeks and delivering at 25 weeks 3 years ago I have been trying to understand the causes and theories of preterm labor. I did have an irritable uterus, I did not have PROM or an incompetent cervix, labor just started too early. It was an otherwise textbook labor stretched out over the course of a week in the hospital while peri-natalogists used their very limited arsenal to slow down and try to stop my labor. (Weirdly enough, that meant being denied pain relief by nurses and other atypical hospital experiences...)
I did not have any of the known risk factors. I did have an irritable uterus. I started having strong braxton-hicks contractions that did not change my cervix starting at 16 weeks. It is assumed by all involved that my contractions did not become a problem until labor started and my cervix was ready. I went into the hospital after I realized that I was using my "coping" skills to deal with my back pain for many hours. I was "only" dialated to one.
Anyway, it turns out that the medical profession doesn't really know what causes preterm labor; this may be related to the fact that what (or who, baby or mama or both) exactly initiates labor! It seems as though every other health thing I research has a mainstream explanation and treatment and a more natural/holistic/alternative explanation and treatment. From what I can tell preterm labor has almost no explanations at all. Am I missing something? I like hard evidence, but are there also some off-the-wall theories out there?
Wow, I was hoping I'd get to read a response to that! I am hoping for the same information. I do know that health and nutrition play a role, if you have an excellent diet it reduces your chance of preterm labor.
Blog on profile.
Did the HCPs rule out an infection or some sort of maternal-fetal incompatibility? Was the baby totally normal developmentally and chromosomally? Maybe your body has hormonal irregularities or imbalances that contributed. Were you under extreme stress at the time of the pregnancy? What was your diet like? I could see that if you were GROSSLY deficient in calories, vitamins or minerals (that would be pretty hard to do if you live in a developed country with access to a grocery store), maybe your body was not able to sustain a pregnancy or maybe those smooth muscle cells were missing some element (K, Ca, Na, Vit. D, ???) they needed. From medicinenet.com: "It is commonly thought that dehydration and depletion of electrolytes will lead to muscle spasm and cramping. Muscle cells require enough water, glucose, sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium to allow the proteins within them to interact and develop an organized contraction. Abnormal supply of these elements can cause the muscle to become irritable and go into spasm." Did the doctors offer you any sort of medications to try to get your uterus to quiet down? I would think they'd also have pumped you full of fluids and electrolytes too.
Unfortunately, sometimes crappy outcomes happen in pregnancy and birth, and there still isn't a good explanation for why. It wasn't anything you did or didn't do, did or didn't eat, did or didn't think. Healthy lifestyle choices, good nutrition, and staying relaxed do what they do, but sometimes things happen despite our best efforts.
For prevention, you could try going to a Chinese medicine doctor/acupuncturist as they have a different philosophy of care and treatment modalities than allopathic doctors. Maybe they can do some energy rebalancing or use Chinese herbs to good effect. I would also put things like Reiki in the 'can't hurt, might help' category.
If you want an off-the-wall theory, I can only come up with: your spirit and this child's spirit made an agreement in a previous lives that this spirit would only be with you for a very short time and that this would finish a karmic cycle you entered into many lifetimes ago.
I've heard there is a link b/t vit d deficiency and ptl -- but the researchers are just starting to look at it. Unfortunatley, already having one ptl and birth increases your risk for another one. The next pg, they will monitor you more closely, but as you have found out, once your body truly starts the birthing process, it is impossible to stop it.
Have you ever had any procedures done to your cervix?