7 Signs & Symptoms of Preterm Labor: Understanding the Risk

When a woman says she’s experienced preterm labor (PTL), it basically means premature labor. Both carry the same meaning, whereby your body starts to get ready for birth a little too early during your pregnancy. There are 4 terms that categorizes your pregnancy:

Early term: born between 37 weeks

Full term: born between 39 weeks

Late term: born between 41 weeks

Post term: born after 42 weeks

Understanding the Risk

An easy indicator of knowing whether you’re facing preterm labor is if you’re experiencing early symptoms as soon as 3 weeks prior your due date. Although the rates of preterm labor are awfully high, medical doctors and professionals around the world are puzzled and are struggling to understand what could be the predominate cause behind the rising premature birth rates these days. Too many babies born too early are a worrying thing as it remains to be the leading cause of newborn deaths – which, can happen to anyone.

Good news is, doctors are able to delay an early delivery. The science is simple, the longer your baby grows inside of you (ideally up to your due date), the stronger it is resulting to having lesser problems post-birth. This is naturally due to babies being subjected to leaving the womb before they are ready exposing them to a variety of physical and developmental challenges, either short-term or long-term complications.

Some of the short-term challenges include: bleeding in the brain, heart, lung and breathing issues, fluctuating body temperature, and gastrointestinal conditions.

Additional long-term conditions include: vision, hearing, as well as behavioral and psychological problems.

Preterm labour (PTL) is defined by regular contractions that open your cervix anywhere from 20 weeks until 37 weeks (early term) pregnant. ⁠ There are risk factors that increase your chances of PTL but it can happen without any risk factors at all.⁠ That being said, save this post for future reference.

Who is at Risk of Preterm Labor

Most premature births are first time moms who reported not having any symptoms at all! However, there are several red flags to look out for that could place you in the high risk category for preterm labor:

  • Short gap between pregnancies
  • Infection
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Conceiving via IVF
  • Carrying multiples
  • Poor diet and nutrition
  • History of drug or alcohol abuse

Is There Any Way to Prevent Preterm Labor?

Treatments are available. However, what we can do within our means to prevent a preterm birth is by simply leading a healthy lifestyle throughout your pregnancy. Acquire as much information as you can about your pregnancy and the growing baby inside you as this ensures better understanding to provide the best for your unborn child.

7 Signs & Symptoms of Preterm Labor

1. Regular or frequently occurring contractions. (with or without pain⁠)

- that exist in 10 minute-or-less intervals.

2. Low, dull backache that doesn't go away⁠

3. Pelvic or abdominal pressure⁠

- as though baby is pushing down.

 4. Abdominal cramping ⁠

- similar to menstrual cramping

 5. Spotting or bleeding (usually light)⁠

 6. Rupture of membranes ⁠

 7. A change in vaginal discharge: watery, mucus, or bloody

As mentioned before, there are risk factors but Here are some tips to help you proactively manage your pregnancy:

🤰🏻 Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of premature labor.

🤰🏻 Do not skip prenatal appointment⁠

🤰🏻 Eat healthily⁠

⁠🤰🏻 Stay hydrated⁠

⁠🤰🏻 Avoid smoking, drugs, and other unhealthy habits

Babies born full term have the best chance of being healthy, compared with babies born earlier or later. Therefore do not miss any prenatal appointments as these helps your doctor to monitor you and baby’s health and development. A lot of women tend to confuse themselves with these symptoms as they’re not too different from normal pregnancy symptoms such as backache for one. But if you having pressing concerns, please do get yourself check with your gynaecologist as you can never be too careful. Always get any potential warning signs checked out.

We at Boss Mama encourage you to join us at our 24/7 Telegram Mommy Hotline where everyday we seek to support and empower moms alike with love and knowledge sharing on all things postpartum and motherhood 💖

*DISCLAIMER: All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended to substitute for professional advice. Should you have any pressing concerns regarding your pregnancy, please do seek professional medical consultation. 

*Reference: Premature Birth: Understanding Your Risk. (2017, April 14). Baby Chick

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