About Preterm labor
Preterm labor is labor that happens before 37 weeks gestation. Many women have contractions on and off during their third trimester, but true labor refers to contractions that lead to changes in and opening of your cervix.Some causes of preterm labor include maternal anxiety or depression, fetal stress, infection, and bleeding or distention in the uterus. Preterm labor can, but does not always, lead to preterm birth. About 11 percent of births each year in the U.S. are preterm.Some symptoms of labor includeCrampingContractions that are mild or come at irregular intervalsAching in your lower backVaginal discharge with mucus and/or bloodYour doctor can diagnose preterm labor by hearing about your symptoms and doing a physical examination. Doctors manage suspected preterm labor in different ways depending on how much change they see in your cervix, along with any other symptoms or conditions you have. If you're in true labor, doctors can't stop it from happening, but they can give certain medications that will slow it down and other medications that lower your baby's risks if born preterm. If you have a history of preterm birth, your doctor will talk to you about medicines and procedures that can lower the risk of preterm birth in your next pregnancy.
- Contractions that are mild or come at irregular intervals
- Aching in your lower back
- Vaginal discharge with mucus and/or blood