When your uterus starts contracting and changing the cervix before 37 weeks, it is called preterm labor. It means your baby could be born too early.
These contractions may or may not be painful. They often feel like a firming of your entire uterus.
This is different from your baby's kicks or movements. Those feel like a fluttering, a sudden, soft poke, or a firming in just a small part of your uterus.
Here are some other signs of preterm labor:
If you have had a regular pattern of six or more contractions in 1 hour, it is important to call your health care provider.
If you have blood or fluid coming from your vagina, call your health care provider or hospital birth center at once.
If you are having cramps, pressure, or pain, stop what you are doing. Drink two to three glasses of water or juice, empty your bladder, and lie down on your left side. Rest for an hour. If your symptoms get worse or haven't gone away after 1 hour, call your health care provider.
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, sixth edition, preg-ahc-90026, ISBN 1-931876-25-8
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts
Call your health care provider or the hospital birth center right away if you: