Preterm Labour: Signs And Steps Of Care
It is said that motherhood is the most compelling as well as the most rewarding vocation. This journey is filled with adventures of its own and being aware and knowledgeable of every possible complication that you may face will ensure a smoother ride. Preterm or premature labour occurs when you experience labour before reaching 37 weeks in your pregnancy.
Any prenatal situation can be handled by staying calm and if you experience signs of preterm labour, you must not fret. It can be managed effectively and you can go on to give birth well around your due date. Along with keeping a cool head, identifying preterm labour at the right time is essential.
Symptoms of Preterm Labour
If you experience any of the following symptoms after week 20 and before week 37, it is important to consult your doctor or health care provider at the earliest.
Labour contractions usually cause discomfort or an ache in your back and lower abdomen, along with pressure in the pelvis. Check for regular contractions in a time period of 10-15 minutes or so. These contractions must not be confused with Braxton Hicks contractions, which are irregular and do not lead to premature birth.
Lower Back Pain
A lower backache is a usual discomfort during the course of pregnancy. But a dull backache, constant or temporary, which won't go with changing sides or lying down should be checked with your health care provider.
Lower Abdominal Pain
You may experience pain or cramping in the abdominal area, similar to the discomfort faced during menstruation. It can be accompanied by pressure on the pelvic area. In other words, you might feel the urge to run to the washroom but with no result.
Change in Vaginal Discharge
Vaginal discharge is common during pregnancy. Fetal fibronectin is thought of as a 'glue' which binds the foetal sac to the uterine lining. This glue leaks into the vagina if a preterm delivery is likely. So, you should check for any changes in colour ranging from watery, red, or even pink.
When the uterus gets inflamed, it can result in vaginal bleeding which presents as an indicator of preterm labour. Heavy vaginal bleeding or even spotting warrant a visit to your doctor.
Symptoms Similar to Flu
Look out for signs similar to a common cold. For example, having a running fever, nausea, and feeling tired. You might also feel aversion to fluids.
Steps of Care
The feeling of carrying a new soul within you is magnificent. Keeping all your worries aside is one of the foremost steps of care for your little one. Here are some additional tips you can follow to keep your fears at bay:
Seeking Prenatal Care
Prenatal care involves regular checkups, ultrasounds, and physical exams. Depending on the stage of pregnancy, the doctor may also prescribe blood tests to make sure everything is going well. Talking freely to your doctor about anything that worries you is a must. Regular visits ensure a healthy progress. So ensure to inform your doctor if you have a history of preterm labour.
Consuming a Healthy Diet
Polyunsaturated fats are associated with low preterm labour labour risk. Nuts, salmon, and fish oils are rich in polyunsaturated fats and should be included to ensure a happy, healthy baby.
Avoiding Unhealthy Habits
Lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and use of drugs should be avoided as they put you in the higher risk category for preterm labour.
Having knowledge about preterm labour and following the steps mentioned above will ensure that you experience a wholesome and healthy pregnancy.