Symptoms & warning signs

Preterm labour is defined as labour that begins that begins before the end of 37 weeks of pregnancy or more than three weeks before your due date.

The early warning signs of preterm labour may be subtle and may be hard to tell apart from normal symptoms of being pregnant. If at any time during your pregnancy you experience any of these symptoms, or have a gut feeling that something isn’t right call your primary health care provider straight away or head to the hospital.

Warning signs and symptoms of premature labour include:

  • Contractions every 10 minutes or more often
  • Watery fluid leaking from your vagina (water breaking) in a gush or trickle
  • Change in vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Low, dull backache that may persist or come and go
  • Vaginal or rectal pressure
  • Menstrual like cramps that may occur with or without diarrhoea. They may come be continuous or come and go.
  • A decrease in baby’s movements

It may be possible to prevent premature birth, though only your health care provider can tell for sure so pick up the phone and call straight away. Acting fast can make a difference.

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