Quick Facts on Premature Births

The risk factors, warning signs, and treatment methods of premature labor.

Risks and Signs

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)

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