Preterm Labor Symptoms and Risk Factors

If you are currently pregnant, preterm labor symptoms may be one of your concerns. And rightfully so. 

Preterm labor, contractions of the uterus and changes in the cervix prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy, is a serious condition and one that any expectant mother should know the signs and symptoms. This is because if a baby is born this early prior to the due date they could risk not developing fully or having long-term health problems, including cerebal palsy. While preterm birth falls between 20 weeks and 37 weeks of pregnancy, babies born before 34 weeks are the most at risk for health problems.

Our Houston, Texas-based practice is here to help with all of your preterm labor questions or concerns. 

Symptoms of Preterm Labor

If you are pregnant and not yet at 37 weeks, we highly recommend you pay attention to these possible signs and symptoms of preterm labor. While having any of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you are experiencing preterm labor, please visit or call us if you notice any of these before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

-Change in type or amount of vaginal discharge

-Pelvic pressure

-Dull backache

-Mild abdominal cramps

-Frequent contractions

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we may perform a pelvic exam to determine any possible changes in your cervix. 

Risk Factors for Preterm Labor

While preterm labor can happen to any of our patients, you should know if you are at higher risk. Patients who are at higher risk:

-Have had a previous preterm birth

-Have a short cervix

-Had a short interval between pregnancies

-Former surgery on uterus or cervix

-Experienced pregnancy complications

-Smoke or abuse substances during pregnancy

How We Manage High-Risk Patients

If you come to us at a high-risk for preterm labor or birth, there are a number of steps we may take. We will start you on prenatal care as early as possible. We may also recommend you to a specialist or give you certain medications or treatments.

If Preterm Labor Continues

If we determine you are, in fact, in preterm labor we will assess the next course of action based on the patient and baby. If we think your baby should not be delivered at the time, we may administer medications including corticosteroids, magnesium sulfate or tocolytics. 

If you are in Houston and are pregnant and have more questions about preterm labor symptoms or think you are experiencing it, please call or visit our practice.

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