Preterm labour is labour occurring before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Factors such as smoking/drug use, previous preterm birth, infection and trauma can increase the risk of preterm labour. In 50% of preterm labour cases, the cause is unknown. If you are experiencing symptoms of preterm labour, page your midwife. A consultation and/or transfer of care to an obstetrician may be recommended.
SYMPTOMS OF PRETERM LABOUR
- Menstrual-like cramping in lower abdomen with increasing intensity, coming and going in a pattern. These cramps (contractions) do not go away with position changes, a bath or Tylenol.
- Blood or fluid leaking from the vagina.
- Back pain that is coming and going in a pattern.
- These symptoms may be accompanied by diarrhea, pressure in lower abdomen and/or nausea/vomiting.
TO REDUCE THE RISK OF PRETERM LABOUR
- Do not smoke in pregnancy or try your best to cut down as much as possible.
- Seek out prenatal care and discuss risk factors/concerns with your care provider.
- Take a prenatal class.
- Stay hydrated, eat a balanced diet and maintain an active lifestyle.
- Minimize stress-inducing and/or intense activities.