When 'Labor Day' Comes Early
The Home-Monitoring Approach continued...
"You use a thermometer to take someone's temperature to see
if they have a fever, and if they do, you have to treat them because the
thermometer won't cure the fever," he says. "The same is true with home
uterine monitoring. It's a diagnostic tool, not a therapeutic tool."
Janet Bleyl is an advocate of home uterine activity monitoring.
"We have thousands of women who have known early on they're having preterm
labor because of home monitoring," says Bleyl, founder and president of the
Triplet Connection, a Stockton, Calif.-based nonprofit group for families who
have had or who are expecting triplets or more.
"We have seen lots of patients in preterm labor who, due to
drugs and aggressive treatment, have prolonged their pregnancy from weeks to
months," she tells WebMD.
Because of the insidious nature of premature labor, "women
who find themselves in it are unable to detect it themselves, which is why home
monitoring can be so important and useful," she says.
What to Watch For
Women should be on the lookout for:
- Mild uterine contractions
- Low back pain or pelvic heaviness
- Increased pink or brown vaginal discharge or vaginal discharge with foul
"Realize that preterm labor is not painful," Bleyl
says. "Most are watching for painful contractions, but if they are in a
high-risk situation even minor contractions are big news and need to be checked
out. Most often it can be stopped or helped if doctors intervene early