Premature Labor

Premature Labor: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions related to premature labor:

Q: I am feeling what might be contractions, but I hate to bother my doctor – what should I do?

A: Experiencing two or three contractions during an hour is normal for a healthy pregnancy. Contractions can be brought on by sexual intercourse, the baby changing position, a doctor’s exam, or dehydration. Try drinking a glass of water and resting for a while, then monitor yourself for contractions. If you still suspect premature labor, call your health care provider immediately.

Q: My vaginal discharge is different than it was a few days ago. Is this normal?

A: An increase in vaginal discharge might be a warning sign of preterm labor. A change in the color or odor could indicate infection, which is a leading cause of premature labor. A change can also be due to the loosening of the thick mucous plug in the cervix that protects your baby from infection. If the membranes rupture, fluid will leak out. In all cases, a significant change in vaginal discharge should be discussed with your health care provider.

Q: I woke up with wet underpants, but it does not smell like urine. What is it?

A: You could be leaking amniotic fluid. Call your health care provider immediately.

Q: My doctor told me not to lie on my back while on bed rest. Why is that?

A: Lying flat on your back may cause the large blood vessels supplying blood and oxygen to you and your baby to be compressed.

Q: My doctor put me on bed rest last week and I am already going crazy. How will I survive the next two months? What can I do?

A: You are doing your first big job as a parent by trying to keep your baby inside your uterus until he is mature enough to breathe and eat on his own. Enlist support from friends and family, and talk to someone who has been on bed rest and who can remind you of the enormous gift you are giving your baby.

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