Preterm labor is any labor occurring before the 37′” week of pregnancy. A premature birth can affect you and your child for many years to come, so it is very important that you know the signs of preterm labor. Early identification of preterm labor MAY prevent preterm birth.
WHO IS AT RISK?
A. Anyone who has had a prior pre-term iabor or birth
B. Smokers, substance use
C. Moms who are underweight or who have poor nutrition and/or poor dental heaith D. History of prior uterine surgery, DES daughter, abnormally shaped uterus.
E. History of multiple miscarriages or abortions.
F. Twins or triplets.
G. Large fibroids, prior cone biopsy, or LEEP.
H. Incomplete cervix.
I. Age less than 18 or greater than 35.
J. Abnormal placenta, or too much or too little amniotic fluid. K. Preterm contractions greater than 4-6/hour.
WHA T ARE THE SIGNS OF PRETERM LABOR?
A. Menstrual-like cramps.
B. Persistent dull low backache.
C. Pelvic pressure.
D. Increase in vaginal discharge.
E. The above with uterine contractions more than 4 in one hour that do not go away with increasing your fluids, eating and taking a warm shower or going to sleep.
Remember, if you are having any question about symptoms
Using your fingertips, feel the uterus. Contractions or tightening will occur with contractions over the entire uterus, may last from 20 seconds to 2 minutes, and can be uncomfortable or painless!!
If you are still having more than 4 contractions in one hour – CALL!
To help prevent preterm labor, keep ALL of your prenatal appointments, drink plenty of fluids (at least 8- 10 glasses of water EVERY DAY), keep your bladder empty, get plenty of rest on your left side (or right side), and let us know if symptoms of a urinary tract infection develop.