There is nothing good to be said about preterm birth. It is stressful on the newborn, stressful on the parents and stressful on the healthcare system. Preterm infants will forever have elevated risks of certain conditions like obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Because of this, anything that can be done to avoid a preterm birth is of the utmost importance.
The absolute most important aspect is to improve your health BEFORE conception. That means normalizing your menstrual cycle, maintaining an ideal body weight and pulling back from a prediabetic lifestyle. Above all, avoid infertility treatments until you have tried everyting else. Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) greatly increase the risk of preterm birth, so it is essential to become pregnant through lifestyle changes. All too often, fertility “specialists” will take thousands of dollars from patients and yet never mentioned a single factor about diet, stress management, exercise and environmental chemical exposure. If the “specialist” you go to wants your money but doesn’t address these aspects, run like heck.
After this factor, maternal infections can induce preterm labor. Anything we can do to reduce this risk factor is a good thing. This means maintaining good bacterial flora (i.e. probiotics) in the vaginal vault to reduce the risk of infection. Antioxidants like Vit C and E (use a mixed tocopherols product) can lower the risk of pre-eclampsia. And this study supports the use of the antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) to lower the risk of preterm labor if an infection does occur.