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The causes

> Having delivered a premature baby previously, which puts you at a 20-40pc risk of having another premature baby

> Multiple-gestation pregnancies such as twins or triplets. The risk increases with each extra foetus

> Placental abruptions and placenta praevia are two causes of bleeding that can lead to a premature delivery

> Having too much (polyhydramnios) or too little (oligohydramnios) amniotic fluid

> Infections during pregnancy, especially if they spread to the uterus or placenta

> Diabetes

> High blood pressure

> Pre-eclampsia, which causes maternal high blood pressure, proteinuria (spilling protein in your urine), and swelling

> Maternal smoking or use of illicit drugs

> Maternal malnutrition, especially if it leads to poor weight gain during pregnancy

> Fibroids, an abnormally shaped uterus and cervical incompetence

> Becoming pregnant while being treated for infertility, having had a previous abortion in the second trimester, and not having prenatal care

> Problems with the foetus can also lead to a premature delivery, including infections, poor growth and certain birth defects