Signs of Spontaneous Preterm Labour

What are the warning signs of spontaneous preterm labour?

  • Regular uterine contractions or tightening sensation in the abdomen (often painless)
  • Continuous or intermittent menstrual-like cramps (constant or occasional)
  • Low, dull backache
  • Pelvic pressure or low abdominal heaviness
  • Abdominal cramping, with or without diarrhoea
  • Increase or change in vaginal discharge
  • Mucous like discharge with or without tinges of blood
  • Leakage of amniotic fluid in small or large amounts

What are Braxton Hicks contractions?

Braxton Hicks contractions occur in most normal pregnancies and are felt as painless and infrequent tightening of the uterus. These contractions usually don’t occur more than once per hour and do not make any changes to the cervix. They are also called as ‘practice contractions’ and are felt by the mother after 28 weeks of pregnancy.

What is the difference between Braxton-Hicks contractions and Preterm labour contractions?

Braxton Hicks contractions do not make any changes to the cervix. Preterm labour is most often felt as a vague, painless tightening of the abdomen, and may or may not be accompanied by one or more signs and symptoms of preterm labour. Preterm labour contractions usually occur in a regular pattern and may cause changes to occur in the cervix. These changes can be detected by atransvaginal ultrasound scan of the cervix at its initial stage, but also by digital examination (per vaginal check) by your doctor.