Preterm Labor Signs
If you have two or more of these symptoms, call your caregiver immediately to help you decide whether you’re in preterm labor.
- Uterine contractions that occur every ten minutes, or six contractions in one hour (Contractions come in waves as your uterus alternately tightens and softens; they don’t have to be painful. See page 136 to learn how to detect contractions.)
- Continuous or intermittent menstrual-like cramps or pressure in your lower abdomen and thighs (pelvic heaviness)
- Dull ache in your lower back that doesn’t go away when you change position
- Intestinal cramping with or without diarrhea or loose stools
- Sudden increase or change in vaginal discharge (watery, blood tinged, or with more thin mucus).
- General feeling that something isn’t right
When checking for preterm contractions, think about your typical uterine activity and remember that contractions of irregular length and frequency are normal in pregnancy. Having persistent, fairly regular contractions for two hours (along with other signs) indicates labor.
Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn
© copyright 2010 by Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.