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, or you are having vaginal bleeding.
  • 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 April 08, 2019



The Mayo Clinic. 

Sidelines National Support Network. 

Robin Elise Weiss, BirthCare Network.

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