Signs of Preterm Labor

Signs of Preterm Labor

What is Preterm Labor?

Preterm labor is described as having contractions and “true labor” after twenty weeks of labor but more than three weeks before your due date. Depending on how far along a woman is in her pregnancy, sometimes the preterm labor can be stopped, but other times the baby might have to be delivered, and this can sometimes result in a premature baby. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of preterm labor so that if it happens to you or someone you know, you can make sure that you can seek help. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

There are several different signs of preterm labor, and some are much more painful and serious than others. Read on for the most common signs that preterm labor may be occurring.


Contractions that signal preterm labor will be “true” contractions, and not Braxton Hicks contractions, which are “fake” contractions. The contractions that come along with preterm labor are usually every ten minutes or so apart, but sometimes are closer together.


It is common for women in their second or third trimester to suffer from backaches, but sometimes they can signal preterm labor. If a backache feels dull and there is also a tightening feeling, that can be a sign of preterm labor, especially if the backache doesn’t ease up when a woman changes positions.


There are several sorts of cramping that can indicate preterm labor. Sometimes the cramps may feel like menstrual cramps, sometimes they might feel more like gas pains. Sometimes these cramps are accompanied by diarrhea, but not always.

Bleeding or other vaginal discharge

Bleeding can be a sign of preterm labor, as can leaking fluid from the vagina. If a woman sees an increase in vaginal discharge, that can also be a sign of preterm labor as well.

Water Breaking

This one is pretty obvious, but if there is watery vaginal discharge, whether it be in gush or a trickle, it could mean that a woman’s water is breaking, and that labor is about to start.

Flu Like Symptoms

Most women don’t realize that flu like symptoms can be a sign of preterm labor as well. If you have fever, chills, nausea, vomiting or any other flu symptoms, it could mean that preterm labor is on it’s way.


That tell-tale pressure can also be a sign that a woman is experiencing preterm labor. The pressure can be on vagina area or also on the pelvic area in general. That pressure can indicate that the baby is trying to press down.

Contact your doctor

If you think you or a woman you know might be experiencing preterm labor, it is important to get in contact with a doctor right away. A doctor might have additional questions to ask that will help determine if the baby or the mother are in danger. The doctor might advise for you to make a visit to the hospital, and the staff there can determine whether measures will be taken to stop the labor or if the baby will be able to go ahead and be born.

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Dr. Christine Lee, MD
Dr. Christine Lee, MD | ConceiveEasy
Dr. Christine Lee earned her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology and Master of Science in Biomolecular Organization. Dr. Lee is Lab Director for ConceiveEasy and is board certified as a High Complexity Laboratory Director (HCLD).