When pregnant women are at risk of giving birth prematurely, special care can help to ensure their baby is born at full term

Ms Chen Tsai Ling (41 Years old, Chinese) was both happy and worried when she held a pregnancy test with two bold lines for the fifth time. She was happy to be pregnant, but felt uneasy as she had previously had two miscarriages and two delivered two premature babies.

However, thanks to the special pregnancy care plan for pregnant women at risk of premature birth at FV Hospital, Ms Ling delivered her baby, healthy, at full term.

Ms Chen Tsai Ling’s family is overjoyed when the third baby is born full-term and healthy 

Planning special prenatal care for pregnant women at risk of preterm birth

Ms Ling recalls carefully researching prenatal health and nutrition with her husband when she was pregnant with her first child in 2011. However, when she had a routine antenatal check-up at seven months, her doctor informed her that she had signs of a preterm birth. Despite having one month of follow-ups combined with medication, the couple’s first child was born early. Being a mother for the first time and taking care of a premature baby was extremely difficult. In 2014, Ms Ling also delivered her second child early, this time at 34 weeks.

After experiencing two miscarriages and delivering two premature babies, Ms Ling and her husband were worried when they became pregnant for the fifth time. They decided to visit FV Hospital on the recommendation of friends. Dr Ngo Trung Nam, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, FV Hospital, directly examined Ms Ling when she was five weeks and five days pregnant.

Using ultrasound, Dr Dat found that Ms Ling’s cervix had an abnormal structure, which put her and her baby at risk of a premature delivery. Due to Ms Ling’s history of premature birth and miscarriage and more advanced age, it was unlikely she would be able to carry a baby to full term without a special treatment regimen. Fortunately, because the family had scheduled an early check-up, FV doctors were able to proactively screen for risks of preterm birth.

In consultation with the couple, Dr Nam made a detailed monitoring plan that leveraged modern equipment to help Ms Ling enjoy a safe, healthy pregnancy and ensure every chance that her baby would be born full term. Using a foetal growth chart automatically generated by MonEcho software, a company from France, doctors can easily schedule monitoring of a pregnant women’s health proactively ahead of any situation that might occur.

Dr Dat said: “At week 21, we noticed that Ms Ling showed signs of preterm birth, so we applied a special cervical ring to support her natural physiology. This ring was later removed a week before her due date. Simultaneously, we prescribed additional medications and interventions, initially to help Ms Ling to keep the baby until the 34th week of pregnancy. Once we passed the 34th week, we raised the goal of our approach to help Ms Ling stay pregnant until the 37th week. Step by step, we raised the goal, until finally her baby was born at full term.”

Ms Ling said that the encouragement and dedicated support of her doctors empowered her to overcome the discomforts of pregnancy and welcome her strong, healthy baby at nine months.

On December 13, 2022, shortly before being discharged from FV hospital, Ms Ling happily shared: “In my previous two births, I was in so much pain during labour that I thought I was going to die. Fortunately, this time at FV hospital, I delivered easily and didn’t feel any pain at all.”

Ms Ling’s baby, born at full term

Mr Nguyen Dinh Cua, Ms. Ling’s husband, was very happy to have the support of FV Hospital’s obstetrics team. “The fifth time we became pregnant, we were both a little older and my wife’s health had also declined. We were haunted by the memory of two previous premature births and two miscarriages,” he says.

“Dr Nam advice was clear and optimistic, which gave us hope. We were determined that this baby would remain in the womb until our due date, and thanks to our shared trust in FV’s team, we welcomed our little angel at the right time. My wife experienced a relatively easy birth and was always in good health.” 

Preterm birth screening: A useful tool for a smooth pregnancy

A typical pregnancy lasts for around 40 weeks. A baby is deemed premature if it is born between 22 and 37 weeks—a regular occurrence which is nevertheless ranked among the most dangerous obstetric complications. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), every year an estimated 15 million babies are born prematurely around the world, accounting for one in 10 new-borns.

Doctor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Department – FV Hospital examines pregnant women 

Being born prematurely is one of the leading causes of death in children under five years of age. Common issues in premature babies include hypothermia, respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, digestive disorders and neonatal infectious anaemia. In the long term, premature children are at risk of conditions such as language delays, problems with growth and movement, and respiratory system and vision problems.

Dr Nam said that although there are many effective drugs and tools available to support pregnant women, premature births are still a painful, difficult problem for obstetrics doctors. It is always necessary to screen for risks of preterm birth, and essential that expecting mothers visit their OBGYN doctor during pregnancy to actively plan to avoid a preterm birth.

Dr Nam says that the cause of preterm birth may be due to an abnormality in the mother’s cervix, vaginal infections, asymptomatic UTIs, trauma due to accidents, or an unknown cause.

To assess whether a woman is at risk of preterm birth,  FV Hospital doctors will monitor the length and shape of the cervix, and combine that data with notes on gestational age and foetal size. When this data is analysed using MonEcho software, the programme will calculate the risk of preterm birth at 34 or 35 weeks. Based on this insight, FV Hospital’s doctors will give specific advice to each patient.

FV Hospital is equipped with the latest technologies and staffed by a team of experienced doctors to advise pregnant women on optimal preterm screening and care, helping to minimise the incidence of preterm births through timely examination and constant monitoring.

To learn more, please contact FV Hospital at: (028) 54113333.