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    7 Ways To Recognize The Symptoms Of Preterm Labour To Prevent Giving Birth To Your Baby Prematurely

    Preterm labour also known as premature labour occurs when regular contractions result in the opening of your cervix after week 20 and before week 36 of pregnancy.

    Preterm labour can result in premature birth. The earlier premature birth happens, the greater the health risks for your baby.

    If you are pregnant, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of preterm labour. If you know the symptoms, you can seek medical treatment that will hopefully prevent you from giving birth to your baby prematurely.

    Preterm labour occurs when you are between 20 and 36 weeks of pregnancy; any earlier than that, and it’s considered a miscarriage. 

    It can be caused by any number of factors, some you have control over and some you don’t.

    Here are some ways to recognize the symptoms of preterm labour:

    1. Feel for contractions

    A contraction will feel like a tightening of muscles in your abdominal area, especially near your baby.

    However, a contraction is not always a sign of preterm labour, as you can have false contractions called Braxton Hicks contractions.

    • Braxton Hicks contractions are generally less severe than regular contractions. Though Braxton Hicks can be painful sometimes, actual contractions are usually accompanied by more pain and are more regularly spaced.
    2. Know the triggers of Braxton Hicks contractions
    These false contractions can be triggered by a number of activities. If you or the baby have been moving around a lot, it can trigger such contractions.
    You may also have a round of these contractions after sex or if you are especially dehydrated.
    A full bladder or even someone just touching your stomach can trigger these contractions. 
    Therefore, if your contractions are light and started after these activities, they could just be false contractions instead of preterm labour.

    3. Help your Braxton Hicks contractions subside

    If your contractions are Braxton Hicks, they will eventually subside. To hurry the process along, try changing how you’re positioned. Lie down if you’ve been moving around, or do the opposite if you’ve been lying down.

    You can also try drinking more fluids or getting extra rest to help alleviate these contractions over time

    4. Notice pressure in your abdomen

    If you start feeling pressure in your lower abdomen, that could be a sign of preterm labour. You may also feel pressure in your pelvic area.

    If you are not sure whether the pressure you are feeling is preterm labour, call your healthcare practitioner to be sure

    Read also: Halle Bailey Fans Pregnancy Rumours After Being Spotted With What Appears To Be A Growing Baby Bump

    5. Pay attention to abdominal cramps

    If you start feeling cramps, it may be a sign of preterm labour. Generally, these cramps will feel like you are on your period. In addition, diarrhea may accompany your cramping

    6. Look out for a backache

    A backache may also be a sign you are going into labour. In particular, backaches that are in your lower back could be a symptom, especially ones that don’t go away. You will likely feel a dull ache, not a sharp pain

    Read also: Preparing Your Body For Pregnancy: 10 Natural Ways To Help You Get A Healthy Baby

    7. Watch for new vaginal discharge or changes in your vaginal discharge

    You may see some spotting or bleeding from your vagina. Spotting is light bleeding. Check your underwear for this symptom, though it may also show up when you are using the restroom.

    • In a more severe case, your water may break. In that case, you should notice watery discharge from your vagina. It may gush all at once or be a slow leak.
    • You should especially be looking for changes in your vaginal discharge. Some discharge is normal during pregnancy.
    • In your second trimester, you’re likely to see white, thin discharge. This discharge is acidic in nature, as it tries to stave off bad bacteria and yeast in your vaginal area.
    • In your third trimester, you’re likely to see heavier discharge near the end of the pregnancy. If you’ve been having normal discharge, but it suddenly changes, call your doctor. Also, look for an increase in thickness or the amount of mucus

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    Photo credit: Getty

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