Understanding Labor and Delivery Complications - Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Preterm Labor?

The symptoms of preterm labor and birth include:

  • Contractions before 37 weeks of pregnancy, with a tightening and hardening of the uterine muscle, 10 minutes apart or less (these may be painless)
  • Cramps similar to menstrual cramps (not to be mistaken with Braxton Hicks contractions, which typically are not at regular intervals and do not open the cervix)
  • Low backache
  • A feeling of pelvic pressure
  • Abdominal cramps, gas, or diarrhea; in combination with contractions, may signal preterm labor
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding
  • A change in quality or quantity of vaginal discharge, especially any gush or leak of fluid


Call Your Doctor If:

You notice or feel any of the above symptoms.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on April 02, 2019



The Mayo Clinic. 

The March of Dimes.


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