Preterm or premature labor is when you go into labor 3 or more weeks before your due date. This is too early and your baby can be born too soon.
For more information on labor read, When "It's Time".
Warning signs of preterm labor:
Call your health care provider immediately if you have any of these symptoms:
Bleeding from the vagina
Clear, pink or brownish water leaking from your vagina
Cramps that feel like your period
Cramps with or without diarrhea
Low, dull backache
The feeling that your baby is pushing down hard
Contractions every 10 minutes or more often
What to do:
Stop what you are doing. Rest on your left side for one hour
Drink at least 2-3 glasses of water or juice (not coffee or soda)
If the symptoms continue after one hour, call your health care provider
If the symptoms get better, get up, but do not do the things that caused the symptoms
If the symptoms come back, call your health care provider
Take good care of yourself:
Go to all your prenatal checkups
Try to avoid stress. Ask family and friends for help
Alcohol and tobacco are not good for you or your baby. Street drugs may start preterm labor
If you feel burning or pain when you go to the bathroom, you may have an infection. Call your doctor or nurse.
Reprinted in part with permission March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation 2001
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