Researchers may have just identified an important risk factor for preterm birth, and well...let's just say it's something you've probably never considered.
According to a study from Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, researchers may have just identified a possible risk factor that may cause you to give birth before 37 weeks gestation—and it has everything to do with calcium deposits.
The research team discovered that calcium deposits that form in the membrane that surrounds the fetus can actually cause a woman's water to break too early—which, of course, can lead to her delivering her baby early. This is obviously a scary outcome: Preterm birth can lead to a slew of long-term complications. This research was published in Science Translational Medicine and appears quite preliminary: Researchers have more to do before they can figure out how this may happen or suggest a treatment.
These calcium deposits have been linked to kidney stones and hardening of arteries as well.
"We do see calcium deposits in full-term births as well, which is probably part of the normal breakdown of the membranes at the appropriate time," study senior author Irina Buhimschi, M.D. said, according to Health Day. "The membranes are supposed to rupture when labor is underway. However, these calcium deposits are too many and too early."
Researchers haven't been able to prove an association yet, but it's worth considering. If you're concerned, speak to your doctor—he or she may be able to find out if your body is prone to forming calcium deposits and suggest a dietary change or other modification that may help reduce your risk.