SPECIAL OFFER: - Limited Time Only!
(The ad below will not display on your printed page)

Quick Facts on Premature Births

Are you concerned that you might be at risk for a preterm birth? Read on to learn about the risk factors, warning signs, and what you should do if you suspect you're going into labor prematurely:

Risk factors for preterm births

  • Being an African American
  • Pregnant with multiples
  • Younger than 18 or older than 35
  • Previous preterm birth
  • Uterine or placental abnormalities
  • Underweight or overweight
  • Low weight gain during pregnancy
  • Smoker
  • Alcohol or drug user
  • Short intervals between pregnancies
  • One or more abortions
  • Medical problems, such as hypertension or diabetes
  • Untreated gum disease

Signs and symptoms of preterm labor

  • Blood or other fluid leaking from your vagina (call your health-care provider right awaw if you have this symptom)
  • Menstrual-like cramps, which may come and go
  • Low, dull backache
  • Pelvic pressure (may feel like the baby is pushing down)
  • Change in vaginal discharge
  • Abdominal cramps (with or without diarrhea)
  • Uterine contractions (coming every ten minutes or more often)

If you begin showing signs of preterm labor, here's what you should do:

1. Lie down on your left side for one hour.

2. Drink two or three glasses of water or juice.

3. If the symptoms get worse or if they don't go away after one hour, call your health-care provider or go to the hospital.

4. If the symptoms do go away within one hour, take it easy for the rest of the day. Do not do what you were doing when the symptoms began.

5. If the symptoms come back, call your health-care provider or go to the hospital.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.