For most moms, going into labor signifies new beginnings. It’s one of the happiest times for parents and can bring an immense amount of joy to a family. However, for nearly 15 million women worldwide, this happy experience comes much too soon. November 17 is World Prematurity Day and we want to dedicate this special day to preemie babies all around the world.
Babies born before 37 weeks are considered premature. In the U.S, roughly 1 in 8 babies will be born premature. Let’s take a closer look at the signs of preterm labor so you can be as prepared as possible if your little one decides to make an early appearance.
Signs you could be in preterm labor:
• If you’re having contractions in 10 minute increments, or more frequently (five or more an hour)
• Watery fluid leakage (an indication that your water may have broken)
• Pelvic pressure that feels like your baby is pushing down
• Dull pack pain below your waist that may be constant or may come and go
What you should do if you feel you’re experiencing preterm labor:
• Empty your bladder
• Lie down on your left side. This position could slow down or stop signs of premature labor
• Stay hydrated—dehydration is known to cause contractions
• Monitor your contractions
It’s important to know that if you experience any of these signs or symptoms to call your health care provider immediately, however preterm labor does not always mean preterm baby. Your doctor may decide to place you on bed rest, or provide you with medication to help you and baby stay healthy.
If you do find yourself in preterm labor, remember that youll have plenty of support in the form of doctors and nurses in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) who will give your baby (and you!) a ton of extra TLC. To find out more about some of the difficulties that preemies face or to find out ways to prevent preterm labor visit marchofdimes.com.