Preterm Labor: What to Look For

Kaiser Permanente offers a multitude of prenatal education classes including breastfeeding, prepared childbirth, and preterm birth prevention. The majority of the classes are offered at no charge and it is a great way to not only learn about your pregnancy and what to expect, but also to meet new moms that are on the same page as you.

We have signed up for all of the classes and last night, we attended the preterm birth prevention class. The class is intended to help you recognize the signs of preterm labor and decrease the chances of preterm birth. It is recommended for women between 20-24 weeks of pregnancy. I learned a lot of valuable information and think it is important to share.

Babies born before 37 full weeks of pregnancy are considered to be born premature. Being pregnant with multiples does put us at an increased risk for preterm labor. Some other factors which can place women at an increased risk include:

  • A history of previous preterm birth
  • A history of preterm labor in another pregnancy
  • Carrying more than one baby
  • An abnormally shaped uterus
  • A history of 3 or more miscarriages or abortions
  • Frequent uterine contractions in pregnancy
  • Changes in the cervix this pregnancy
  • Frequent bladder of kidney infections
  • Cigarette Smoking / Alcohol / Drug Use during this pregnancy

Even though you may have one or more of these risk factors, it does not mean you will deliver a preterm baby. In fact, over half of the women who deliver preterm babies have no risk factors. It could happen to anyone, so it is important to know what to look out for.

If you experience any of the following preterm labor signs, you should immediately call your healthcare professional.

  • Low, dull backache – the pain is constant; starts in your back and comes around to the front
  • Cramps – could resemble the cramps you get with your menstrual cycle or abdominal cramps
  • Leaking fluid – could be your water breaking
  • Changes in discharge – notice an increase
  • Pressure – feeling that your baby is pushing down low in your pelvis
  • Contractions – abdomen tightens like a fist and occur 10 minutes apart of closer

For more information on preterm labor, you can visit the March of Dimes website.

The hour-long class was very educational. I learned the importance of recognizing the preterm labor signs and getting to the hospital as soon as possible so the labor can potentially be stopped.

I love the Kaiser classes and overall, we have had a wonderful experience. Although, we cannot predict everything (such as having twins), we can try to be as prepared as possible for what’s to come!



Posted on March 24, 2011, in Pregnancy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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