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Premature Labour: What to Do if it Happens to You
This page was reviewed or revised on Thursday, October 29, 2009 1:53 PM
What is it?
Premature, or preterm labour is labour that starts after the 20th week of pregnancy but before the 37th week.
How will I know?
If you have some of these signs, you could be in premature labour:
- contractions every 10 minutes or more often
- menstrual cramps in your lower tummy
- a dull ache in your lower back
- pressure that feels like the baby is pushing down
- a crampy feeling in your bowels with or without diarrhea
- bleeding, leaking or a discharge from your vagina (more than usual or with a change in consistency or colour)
What Should I Do?
If you feel like you’re having any of these signs or symptoms, you should:
- lie down on your side, and place a pillow behind your back for support
- check for contractions for 1 hour
- if you have contractions, time them from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next one
Call your caregiver, or go to the hospital if:
- you have regular contractions every 10 minutes or more often for 1 hour; or
- you have any of the above signs or symptoms for 1 hour; or
- you have any spotting or leaking of fluid from your vagina.