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Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 13:30 PM   1
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Preterm Labour: Signs and Symptoms

Well I thought I should make a thread about preterm labour. It is actually quite common and should anyone here suspect that they might be having it than there's some information here that could help. I didn't think it could happen to me but it did. So ladies please if you ever feel like something is off go see your doctor right away!!

What is Preterm Labor?
Preterm labor is usually defined as having regular contractions and dilation of your cervix before the 37th week of your pregnancy. This can either be done deliberately by your health care provider due to a pregnancy complication that you or your baby have developed, or it could be spontaneous.

Risk Factors
There are many different factors that can influence your chances of going into preterm labor. Some that can be controlled by you include:

Alcohol use
Drug abuse
Inadequate weight gain
Inadequate nutrition
Eliminating the ones that apply to you will give your baby the best chances of being carried to term (between 38 and 42 weeks). Other risk factors for preterm labor include:
Gum infection
Heavy physical labor
Hormonal imbalance
Incompetent cervix or premature cervical effacement and dilation
Uterine irritability
Placenta previa
Chronic maternal illness such as high blood pressure, heart, liver, kidney disease, or diabetes
Extreme emotional illness
Under age seventeen
Over age thirty-five
Structural abnormalities of the uterus or large fibroids
Multiple gestations
Fetal abnormality
History of premature deliveries

How do You Know if You are Experiencing a Preterm Labor?
Preterm labor is a very serious complication of pregnancy. Unfortunately, many women do not understand the signs of preterm labor. Early detection can help prevent premature birth and possibly enable you to carry your pregnancy to term or to give your baby a better chance of survival. If you experience any of the below signs or symptoms, be sure to contact your health care provider immediately:

-An increase of vaginal discharge especially a sudden gush of clear watery fluid from your vagina
-Spotting or bright red blood from your vagina
-Menstrual like cramping or more than 5 contractions in an hour
-Increase in pressure in the pelvic area
-Low back pain or pressure, or a change in the nature of lower backache
-Swelling or puffiness of the face or hands
-Painful urination, signifying urinary tract, bladder or kidney infection
-Acute or continuous vomiting
-Intense pelvic pressure

How Can You Prevent Preterm Labor?
One of the first things that your practitioner will tell you to do if you are having contractions is staying very well hydrated. What happens with dehydration is that the blood volume decreases, therefore increasing the concentration of oxytocin (hormone that causes uterine contractions) to rise. Hydrating yourself will increase the blood volume. Others things that you can do would be:

-Pay attention to signs and symptoms of infections (bladder, yeast, etc.)
-Keeping all of your appointments with your practitioner and calling whenever you have questions or symptoms. A lot of women are afraid of jumping to conclusions but it is much better to be incorrect than to be in preterm labor and not be treated. Also, be sure to follow your practitioner’s recommendations as to limitations on strenuous activity, including sexual intercourse and hours spent on the job
-Getting good dental care
-Avoiding smoking, cocaine, alcohol, and other drugs not prescribed by your doctor
-Get tested for any infections, especially those of the genital tract

This being said, not all preterm births can be avoided, since not all are due to preventable risk factors.

How is Preterm Labor Treated?
The best key is always prevention and early detection. Make sure to ask your practitioner to discuss the signs and symptoms of preterm labor to you and your partner at your next visit. Prompt medical treatment is aimed at halting or postponing premature labor. Some of the treatments involved with preterm labor include:
-Hydration (Oral or IV)
-Bed rest (Home or Hospital), usually left side lying, limitations on sexual intercourse
-Medications. These are used either to stop labor, to prevent infection or to help your baby’s lung develop more quickly in preparation for the birth. Drugs that relax the uterus (tocolytic agents) may be administered to stop contractions.
-Evaluation of your baby (Biophysical profile, non-stress or stress tests, amniotic fluid volume index (AFI), ultrasound, etc.)

If the mother and/or child are in imminent danger from illness or other problems, no attempt is made to prevent labor and child is delivered.

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Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 14:46 PM   2
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Thanks Steph!
Everyone should be aware of this. Its absolutely terrifying when you don't know whats going on.

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Old Jun 9th, 2008, 19:56 PM   3
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Another high risk factor is if you have or had an eating disorder.

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Old Jun 24th, 2008, 04:56 AM   4
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im 32+3 i keep getting braxton hicks and aching pain in my back and to put it nicely everything down below feels really heavy, im also constipated,
also looking at post above i had bulimia for over a year and only stopped due to being pregnant

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Old Jun 29th, 2008, 22:12 PM   5
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The same reason I stopped too. It's hard.

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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 13:55 PM   6
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oh too, well i have been anorexic and bulimic since 16 till 24 when i got preg :S

i hope were all ok


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Old Dec 22nd, 2008, 03:53 AM   7
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thanks for that i had a prem baby when i was 16 she was 2lb 1oz born at 27 weeks how scary was that. my waters just broke and when i arrived at er i was 10 cm shes nearly 12 years old now and really well

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Old Dec 22nd, 2008, 22:31 PM   8
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Thanks for this!

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Old May 10th, 2009, 08:31 AM   9
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I've been diagnosed with a short cervix I'm 31 weeks + 2 days at the moment and it was measuring 12mm 2 weeks ago, going for scan tomorrow, hopefully its ok. Getting steriod injection if it hits below 10mm. They haven't really got a cause for my short cervix. Hopefully bubba will stay it to at least 34 weeks.

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Old May 22nd, 2009, 09:12 AM   10
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does the risk factor go up if you were a preemie, too?



labour , preterm , signs , symptoms

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