Signs & Symptoms of Premature Labor
It is important to understand the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and premature labor. Braxton Hicks happen when the uterine muscles contract and relax. These can usually be stopped with movement or changing your position.
Following are the signs of preterm labor that you should watch out for and immediately contact your doctor if suffering from any of these:
- Contractions every 10 minutes. If these do not stop after moving or changing your position, then you might be in premature labour.
- Constant lower backache. This could be because the baby may be pushing themselves down.
- Vaginal discharge can be either bloody, mucus-like, or watery in texture.
- Pressure on your lower abdomen along with period-like cramps.
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you are unable to eat anything or have lost your appetite, contact your doctor right away.
- Increased pressure on your vagina and the entire pelvic floor.
Some of these symptoms are common during pregnancy, though it is better to check with your doctor about these if you experience it in the days leading up to your pregnancy.
Causes and Risks of Premature Labor
Even though it is still unclear as to what causes premature labor, there are various risk factors that increase its chances.
Following are the triggers that might initiate the baby to come sooner than expected:
- If you are older or younger than the recommended pregnancy age that is below 17 years old and above 35 years old.
- If you didn’t stop drug or alcohol consumption despite being pregnant.
- If you didn’t space out two pregnancies. The advised span is a minimum of 18 months.
- If you have pregnancy-related or chronic conditions like heart issues, diabetes, hypertension, or a blood clotting problem.
- If you have a history of premature labor in your previous pregnancy/pregnancies.
- If you did not take proper care during pregnancy like eating healthy food, exercising, taking supplements, and regular doctor visits.
- If you are overweight or underweight.
- If you are pregnant with twins or multiple babies.
- If you got pregnant with the help of IVF.
- If you’ve had a recent traumatic experience like the death of a loved one. This kind of stress can trigger labour contractions.
- If you have a physically exhausting job that also makes you mentally stressed.
It is, therefore, necessary to let your doctor know if you have any of the above-mentioned backgrounds. This will help you work through your pregnancy and possibly rule out preterm labor.