Premature Labor: When to call the Doctor

Premature labor occurs in about 12% of all pregnancies.  A normal pregnancy should last about 40 weeks. Occasionally, labor may begin prematurely before the 37th week of pregnancy because uterine contractions cause the cervix to open earlier than normal. When this happens, the baby is born premature and can be at risk for health problems. Fortunately, due to research, technology and medicine, the health of premature babies is improving.

If any of these possible signs of premature labor occur, stop whatever you are doing and call your healthcare provider. Sit or lie down while you wait to hear what he or she advises.

1. Your membranes rupture and amniotic fluid either trickles or gushes from your vagina.

2. Contractions that you may have previously thought were normal Braxton- Hicks contractions now become more intense and more regular.

3. Sudden onset of low back pain or crampy pressure in your pelvic area; a feeling that you have not felt before.

For more information on Premature Labor, visit American Pregnancy or Dr. Sears.

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