Causes of Delayed and Early Delivery

At the beginning of your pregnancy, your doctor will establish a due date. However, sometimes delayed or early delivery may occur.
Causes of Delayed and Early Delivery

Last update: 23 March, 2022

The exact date of delivery is difficult to determine, but we usually have certain data that indicates an approximate day on the calendar. In general, specialists estimate that the delivery will occur according to the date of your last menstrual period, but it’s normal for the exact birth date to vary. Do you know what the causes of delayed and early delivery are?

In the case of first-time mothers, there’s usually a greater propensity for alterations of this type; delivery can be advanced or delayed due to different factors, but those who are mothers for the first time experience some of these incidents more frequently.

Delayed and early delivery: Factors and results

Although for the most part, cases of delayed or early delivery are normal, there are adverse conditions that can play a role. However, it’s common to have to wait longer than we would have liked or to be taken by surprise by the early delivery of our little one. This is because the designs of nature are difficult to predict.

With this in mind, a pregnancy under normal conditions could end with a delivery that’s several weeks premature, but in other cases, pregnancy can also seem endless. Whatever the case, there’s an explanation that shouldn’t necessarily be of concern and that can surely condition us for a future pregnancy.

At the same time, the factors that affect delayed or early delivery can be very diverse and even unsuspected. There are also some popular beliefs that attempt to explain the situation, for example, that girls take a little longer to be born or that the phases of the moon affect childbirth.
In the following article, we’ll explain the main causes that affect your final delivery date.

The causes of delayed delivery

A mother looking down at her pregnant belly.

A birth that’s delayed can cause concern and discomfort for mothers, affecting the entire family. Waiting longer than expected for the arrival of your baby isn’t something out of the ordinary and is, in fact, quite normal. But it’s a wait that can deteriorate the quality of life of mothers, who are already beginning to suffer from the relentless symptoms of pregnancy, such as tiredness and back pain.

The causes of a prolonged pregnancy are diverse, but in general, delivery is delayed for the following reasons.

  • Heredity-related factors. It’s common in mothers whose mothers or sisters have also had prolonged pregnancies; this is caused by elements related to body constitution, which can be similar in families.
  • Lack of elasticity in the main body tissues of the future mother.
  • Date inaccuracy. In these cases, the calculations regarding the gestation period weren’t elaborated in the correct way, so the delivery date ends up varying.
  • The presence of certain infectious diseases that affect the membranes and especially the placenta.
  • High levels of stress or specific events that arise suddenly.
  • A tendency to have long-lasting menstrual cycles.
A mother touching her pregnant belly and looking at an ultrasound image.

The causes of early delivery

The early birth of a baby can occur for different reasons without knowing exactly what they are; we refer to early or premature delivery when it occurs before thirty-seven weeks of gestation. This condition is quite common, as millions of babies are born prematurely around the world.

Among the main causes of premature birth, are:

  • In general, it happens more frequently in adolescents and women under the age of twenty.
  • Stress in particular situations or due to permanence in states of stress.
  • An incursion into unhealthy habits, such as tobacco and alcohol consumption.
  • Detachment or rupture of the placenta due to violent causes or in case of infections in the membranes. This process is a reaction of the body in order to protect the fetus from infections.
  • A considerable increase in the normal levels of amniotic fluid, through a process known as Hydramnios.
  • The inability of the uterus to dilate correctly, due to malformations in the cavity.
  • It’s frequent and natural in the case of twin pregnancies and especially in multiple ones, as the space isn’t large enough to maintain the fetuses for a long time.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.