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Preterm Labor (Definition)
Preterm labor is a condition where the baby's delivery, or labor, begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
Uterus+cervix change: Labor is the presence of regular contractions plus change in the cervix. When labor occurs before term, or 37 completed weeks of gestation, then it is considered preterm labor. If born too early, the premature newborn faces some problems like difficulty breathing, poor resistance to infection, bleeding in the head, etc. An OB expert needs to evaluate all cases and determine whether to try to stop. ...Read moreSee 2 more doctor answers
Pain, bleeding.: Usually preterm labor is manifested with abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, fever or leaking fluid per vaginam. As it progresses to preterm birth, it invariably causes severe pelvic pain and pressure and should be managed in a tertiary hospital with nicu availability. ...Read more
Cramping/Contrations: Cramping and contractions are common. Tightening of the abdomen can also be noted. Rhythmic back pain, pevlic pressure, change in vaginal discharge, spotting or bleeding, or large gush of fluid can also be a sign. In any case where there is concern, the pregnant woman should seek immediate care with her OB provider or at an OB facility. ...Read more
Contractions, other: Contractions with cervical change before term define preterm labor. They can be mild or irregular, accompanied by discharge, back pain, etc. If preterm, especially with risk factors (eg, twins, diabetes), it is always appropriate to call OB or go to labor & delivery asap. An evaluation by physician is needed. Sometimes a transfer to a perinatal center is required, and it can take time to mobilize. ...Read more
Diagnosed with partial/marginal placenta previa (25 wks). Precautions? Worried about preterm labor, placenta has not moved up since 17 wk scan.
Try to relax!: It's still fairly early to be worried. Most patients with marginal placentas deliver vaginally without incident. If this is your first pregnancy your lower uterine segment will not soften until fairly close to term so the placenta may appear to be low until fairly late. As long as there isn't significant vaginal bleeding you shouldn't worry. ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
Pain & frequency: True labor is generally painful, or at least associated with pelvic pressure and/or backache. True contractions come every 5-10 minutes, whereas false contractions of braxton-hicks come every 30 minutes. If in doubt, consult your obstetrician asap. ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
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