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Premature Births on the Rise in Georgia

Disturbing statistics show that, after previous years of decline, premature births are now on the rise in Georgia. Reports state that, in 2016, there was an 11.2% increase. Though this is partly due to lack of funding and, consequently, the shutting down of many medical facilities in Georgia, it is also happening nationwide.

Babies born before 37 full weeks of gestation are considered premature. Many maternal factors can contribute to preterm deliveries, and some of these include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • Pregnancies occurring within 6 to 18 months of each other
  • Racial and ethnic factors: Premature births to African American mothers surpass Caucasian ones by 50%
  • Malnutrition
  • Poverty hindering regular prenatal care
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Smoking
  • Limited access to prenatal care for women living in rural areas
  • Reproductive system irregularities such as a malformed uterus, short cervix, or closed cervix (incompetent cervix)
  • Placenta previa
  • Previous or existing infections and STD’s
  • Mothers who are obese or underweight
  • Multiple births, whether natural or through in vitro fertilization
  • Pregnancy before the age of 18 or after 35
  • Fetal abnormalities
  • Overwork, excessive standing
  • Uterine rupture
  • Previous fibroid removal
  • Blood clotting irregularities
  • Injury from domestic violence or abuse
  • Stress or recent traumatic life experience
  • Pollutant or chemical exposure
  • Previous abortion or miscarriage
  • Rapid hormonal changes
  • Prior birth by C-section (Cesarean)
  • Epilepsy
  • Mental illness

Premature babies often suffer from both short and long-term health complications, neurological issues, and developmental delay concerns such as:

  • Hypothermia
  • Infections
  • Underdeveloped lungs and breathing problems
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Hearing and/or vision problems
  • Higher incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Cardiac irregularities
  • Blood pressure complications
  • Brain hemorrhage and/or brain fluid buildup (Hydrocephalus)
  • Gastrointestinal difficulties
  • Jaundice
  • Anemia
  • Metabolic issues
  • Lowered immune system
  • Dental problems
  • Learning disabilities
  • Reduced cognitive skills
  • Psychological and/or behavioral problems

If you are not yet pregnant but may potentially give birth prematurely, prenatal counseling and testing are usually advised.

Is Your Pregnancy High-Risk?

If your pregnancy classifies as high risk with a danger of premature birth, you should find a fully accredited physician who is both familiar with and can treat complications associated with these pregnancies, as you will probably need extra monitoring throughout gestation.

Any medications, vitamins or supplements you are taking will be evaluated and possibly stopped or modified. Your diet might be adjusted to create a more nutritious and beneficial plan. Additionally, you will be provided with a list of any danger signs that may point towards a premature birth.

Prenatal Care for All Pregnancies 

At Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, we offer you exceptional prenatal service. All of our professionals possess up-to-the-minute knowledge in their fields of obstetrics, gynecology, surgery, midwifery, cosmetic surgery, nutrition, medical assistance, nursing, holistic medicine, and equipment technology. They are committed to putting your well-being and that of your child first.

Unlike many OB-GYN facilities, we conveniently deliver multiple women’s health services to meet your needs under one roof. Our priority is to prevent as many premature births as possible by providing you with these broad amenities.

Along with being voted “Best OB-GYN in Towne Lake, Woodstock, and Canton, we are affiliated with Northside Hospital Cherokee, the nation’s leader in maternity services. We have unlimited access to their state of the art equipment, test center, and birthing center. Their Neonatal and NICU facilities have the most advanced technology to ensure that your baby is given every possible opportunity to fight against the challenges it might face due to a premature birth.

At Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, we offer you exceptional prenatal service. Drs. Gandhi, Haley, and Litrel were among the first doubly accredited specialists in America to meet the high standards necessary to achieve certification in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS). This enviable distinction is only given to qualified individuals after years of training, education, and experience, and adheres to the stringent criteria demanded by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Their expertise enables them to administer superior care throughout your pregnancy. Additionally, Drs. Hale, Crigler and Clay and our certified-nurse midwives, Susan Griggs and Ruth Roser, complete our provider team and help us offer the best obstetrical care in Cherokee County.

Not all premature births can be foreseen or prevented, but at Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, we try to do everything within our scope of expertise to deliver one healthy baby at a time.

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“Dr. Litrel was a fantastic doctor. I had my first exam with him, although at first I was skeptical about a male doctor for my GYN. But after I met him I’m glad I kept an open mind, and I couldn’t have dreamed up a better doctor. He cares about you as a person and not just a patient. The front desk ladies and nurses were very friendly and it’s a great office, very clean and not intimidating. I highly recommend Cherokee Women’s Health.”
– Vicki