What is it?

A preterm labor is a labor occurring before 37 weeks, or three weeks before your due date. Early birth is dangerous because it can cause serious problems to your baby.
It is impossible to know if your will have a preterm labor, but some pregnancies are in a higher risk then others- if you had a premature labor before, you are pregnant with more that one baby, you have a short cervix or your water broke before 37 weeks, you are in a higher risk than usual for a preterm labor.
Other risk factor may include- smoking, using illegal drugs, certain infections and vaginal bleeding during the pregnancy.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Early Onset of Delivery
- Threatened Premature Labor
- Threatened Labor

Signs & symptoms

The symptoms of a preterm birth are identical to those of a term birth. It usually includes contractions which are repeated tightening of your uterus causing belly cramps, watery or bloody vaginal discharge and lower back pain.
In some cases, your water may break, and cause a flow of clear amniotic fluid from your vagina.
If you measure your contractions and they are 10 minutes apart, your water broke, or you identify a bloody vaginal discharge, you should get to the hospital.

Diagnosis

When you will arrive to the hospital, the doctor and nurse will examine you to determine if you are in labor.
They will check your cervix and measure the frequency of your contractions.

Treatment

A preterm labor does not mean a preterm baby. In some cases, your labor can be delayed.
Treatment varies depending on the week of pregnancy, the condition of your cervix and how healthy you and your baby are.
Medications to postpone the labor are a key part of treatment. In addition, you might be given steroids and magnesium to protect your baby’s lungs and brain in case an early delivery will occur.
If your labor can’t be stopped, or your pregnancy is near full term, you may go directly to the delivery room.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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