Preterm (Premature) labor and Birth: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

Preterm Labor Birth

What is Preterm Labor?

Preterm labor/premature labor occurs when your body starts preparing for birth too early. Labor is considered premature when it starts more than three weeks before due date. A lot can be done by the doctors to delay premature delivery. The longer your baby stays inside, the more he develops and grows and will have fewer problems once born.

Risks of developing Preterm Labor

A number of different things increase risk of developing preterm labor. Some of these conditions are given below:

  • Smoking
  • Overweight/underweight before pregnancy
  • Not getting enough prenatal care
  • Taking drugs in pregnancy
  • Some health conditions such as high blood pressure, preeclampsia, diabetes, blood clotting disorders or infections.
  • Having pregnancy with baby that has certain birth defects
  • Getting pregnant and having a baby from in vitro fertilization
  • Having twins or multiples
  • Family history of premature labor
  • Getting pregnant again very soon after the first pregnancy

Signs and symptoms

If you have these signs and symptoms before 37 weeks of pregnancy, you may have preterm labor:

  • Constant back pain which does not go away and does not ease even by changing different positions.
  • Cramping in lower abdomen.
  • Change in vaginal discharge/ more than usual vaginal discharge (watery, mucus or blood).
  • A constant pressure in lower belly and you feel like baby is pushing down.
  • Constant backache.
  • Frequent contractions.
  • Your water breaks.
  • Flu like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. If you can’t tolerate liquids for more than 8 hours then you should see a doctor.
  • Vaginal bleeding.

Getting help quickly

The first thing you should do is to call your healthcare provider and see your doctor immediately. One of best things you can do is getting help quickly. Your doctor will check you and will also give some tests in order to check whether you are in labor or not. If your doctor finds out that you are in preterm labor then he/she will give you treatment to help stop labor or to improve your baby’s health.

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