What are the Signs and Symptoms of Premature Labour

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 11, 2011

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Quick Bites

  • Most complication situation that can arise in labour is premature labour.
  • This happens before the 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  • You are asked not to ignore these signs ans symptoms.
  • Cramps and backache would be common during this time.

Labour is a crucial period for every pregnant woman. It signals the birth of your newborn baby. However, labour is also at times riddled with various complications that can make this experience very hassling for you.

premature labour and its symptoms
The most complication situation that can arise in labour is premature labour and it happens before the 37 weeks of pregnancy are over. It is also known as preterm labour and babies born after preterm labour are termed premature or preterm babies. Preterm babies can face troubles such as lifelong health deficits, difficulty in breathing and they are also suspect to infections such as jaundice or pneumonia.

Do not ignore these signs and symptoms of premature labour and see a medical practitioner or your obstetrician/gynaecologist if you experience any of the below mentioned symptoms of preterm labour during pregnancy.



Contractions usually happen in the final stages of pregnancy. But if you are experiencing these contractions with an increased frequency, it might be the sign of premature labour. Contractions are like a tight knot in the stomach and they go away after some time. However, contractions during premature labour do not go away with lying around or change of position.


Pelvic Pressure

Although you will experience some pelvic pressure in the final stages of your pregnancy, if the pressure is too much, it may be a symptom of premature labour. Pelvic pressure means that the baby is pushing down and might be born preterm.


Fluid leakage

If there is a sudden increase in the amount of vaginal discharge then you should immediately report this to your doctor. Another sign of premature labour is the discharge of bright red blood or clear discharge. The fluid may start leaking because of the opening of the mouth of the vagina, also known as the cervix.


Cramps that feel similar to your menstrual cramps may be a symptom of the onset of preterm labour. They may feel like a bad stomach ache but they can be the beginning of premature labour. These cramps also do not go away after some time.


Lower back pain

If you feel like your back is aching a lot and you find it difficult to move or sit, consult a doctor. Along with the pain, you might also feel increasing pressure in the lower back area. It will seem similar to carrying a heavy weight.


Baby Movement

If there is noticeable change in the movement of the baby, then it may be a sign of premature labour and delivery (childbirth). If you sense that the baby is pushing downwards then do not ignore it.


Other signs and symptoms of Premature Labour

  • Dizziness and blurring of vision.
  • Appearance of spots or blurred vision.
  • Headache, fever or chills.
  • Unanticipated swelling of the feet and hands with pain and discomfort.

Do not ignore even a mild change in your body once you are in the third trimester of pregnancy. A preterm labour has to be handled with a lot of caution and delay in medical attention may cause irreparable damage to the mother and baby.

Read more articles on Labour and Delivery



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  • Janvi02 Dec 2013

    Good article. There are many signs and symptoms of labour, but not all are definite. Lower Back Pain and Contractions are of course two most common ones as far as labour is concerned, but many a times these could be false alarms. So one must be very careful, but there is nothing wrong in calling on your midwife or doctor even if it is a false one. It is always good to check.

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