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    Understanding Preterm Labor and Birth -- Symptoms

    The symptoms of preterm labor can include:

    • Contractions (tightening and hardening of the uterus), occurring more than four per hour and increasing in intensity and frequency
    • Low cramps, similar to menstrual cramps
    • Low backache
    • A feeling of pelvic pressure
    • Abdominal cramps, gas, or diarrhea
    • Vaginal spotting or bleeding
    • A change in quality or quantity of vaginal discharge, especially any gush or leak of fluid

    Call Your Doctor About Preterm Labor If:

    • You think that your water has broken.
    • You think you're experiencing preterm contractions (four or more contractions per hour); in the meantime, stop what you're doing, empty your bladder, and lie down on your left side. Drink two glasses of water, and try to relax. Many times, women are able to stop contractions by resting and staying well hydrated.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Trina Pagano, MD on March 17, 2015

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