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Working to go full term

One of the most important things to focus on during the second trimester is the goal of giving birth to your baby as close to full term as possible. The closer your baby is to being born between 37 to 40 weeks (the time of a full-term pregnancy), the lower the chances of health complications. That's why you should be aware of the signs of preterm labor.

Signs of preterm labor

Call your doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • vaginal bleeding of any amount
  • change or increase in vaginal discharge
  • ruptured membranes (a slow, steady trickle, or sudden gush of fluid from the vagina)
  • six or more uterine contractions in one hour in a regular pattern
  • cramps that feel like menstrual pain and last for more than an hour
  • increased pelvic pressure for more than one hour
  • throbbing in the vagina, cramps in the thighs or feeling your baby pushing down
  • intestinal cramping with or without diarrhea or indigestion for more than one hour

If you do begin to go into labor early, don't panic. Medications can often stop labor, or it's possible that your doctor will prescribe bedrest.

Call for emergency medical services if you have severe abdominal pain or any tissue in the vagina or protruding from the vagina.


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Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, fourth edition, ISBN 1-931876-14-2; Health Online, Inc.

First published: 07/04/2000
Last updated: 10/14/2007

Reviewed by: Michael Slama, MD, Allina Health Mercy Women's Health Clinic