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Preterm Labor - Symptoms

Preterm labor often starts without obvious symptoms. But you may notice one or more symptoms, including:

  • Menstrual-like cramps, with or without diarrhea.
  • A feeling of pressure in your pelvis or lower belly.
  • A persistent, dull ache in your lower back, pelvic area, lower belly, or thighs.
  • Changes in your vaginal discharge, which may increase in amount or become pink or reddish.
  • Regular contractions. This means about 4 or more in 20 minutes, or about 8 or more within 1 hour, even after you have had a glass of water and are resting.
  • Not feeling well. This may include:
    • Having a fever that you can't explain.
    • Feeling unusually tired.
    • Feeling pain in your belly when you press on it.

It is sometimes hard to tell the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and preterm labor contractions.

You may have one or more of these symptoms and not be in preterm labor. But if you are concerned, talk to your doctor or nurse-midwife.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 08, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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