cated if delivery is anticipated between 24 and 34 wk


Prevention of PTL is an important function of the nurse. During the initial prenatal visit, educate the patient on the signs and symptoms of PTL and ask the patient on subsequent visits if she is experiencing any of these indicators. If a patient reports alcohol, cigarette, or drug use any time during the pregnancy, work with her to modify her behavior. A referral to a drug treatment, smoking cessation, or alcohol counseling program may be indicated. Encourage patients to stay well hydrated, especially during the warm weather, because dehydration can cause contractions. In addition, nurses can become involved in community education of adolescents and women about the symptoms, risk factors, and consequences of PTL.

Admission to the hospital for PTL is often a first hospitalization for many young patients. Provide emotional support and educate the patient on simple procedures that may seem routine (drawing laboratory work, frequent assessments done by nurses and physicians, mealtimes and menus). Discuss the implications and expectations of preterm delivery. Be realistic in the discussions and, if possible, arrange for a visit to the NICU and a talk with the neonatologist. Include the family in conversations with the patient, and encourage them to assist with caring for the patient while she is on bedrest. Often, the patient is on bedrest for several days in the hospital and at home. While she is in the hospital, suggest diversional activities, such as videos, special visitors, and games. Encourage the woman to lay on her side to increase placental perfusion and reduce pressure on the cervix.

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