The typical pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. Having the baby any time between the 38th and 42nd week is considered normal. If labor begins before the 38th week of pregnancy, it is considered premature labor. Early labor could lead to the premature birth of the baby. If the baby is delivered before the 23rd week of pregnancy it will be too young to survive outside the womb. Even if the baby is born after 23 weeks but before full term, there can be dangerous health complications.
It is often impossible to know exactly what causes a woman to go into early labor. The most important thing is to recognize the signs and act quickly. If you think labor is starting prematurely, seek medical advice.
Cramping similar to menstrual cramps sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Achy feeling in pelvic floor thighs, or groin area.
Change in vaginal discharge becoming watery, possibly with bloody streaks. A thick mucous plug may discharged.
Rupture of amniotic fluids resulting in a rush or a trickle of fluid from the vagina.
New low back pain or pressure or a change in the nature of existing back pain.
What to do if you think premature labor is starting.
Lie down and rest.
Determine the frequency and length of your contractions.
Consult the doctor immediately as soon as possible.