The Second Trimester: When to Call Your Health Care Provider
Now is a good time to learn the signs of pre-term or premature labor. Premature labor occurs when a woman has labor before she reaches the 37th week of pregnancy, or three weeks before her due date. If you and your health care provider see any symptoms of pre-term labor early, there is a better chance of stopping it. If symptoms are not treated, they can progress to repeated contractions that might cause the cervix to dilate (open) and cause an early birth of the baby. Premature babies need intensive care in the hospital after birth to help with their breathing, feeding, and regulation of body temperature.
Any woman can have pre-term labor, but some women have a higher risk because of problems with the uterus or placenta, or because of having had a pre-term birth with another pregnancy. Don't forget to drink plenty of water to keep from becoming dehydrated, especially in warm weather, since dehydration can cause pre-term labor.
Call your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms of pre-term labor:
- Contractions — You may or may not have pain, but your abdomen or stomach will get very hard (a feeling like it is tightening) and then relax, on and off.
- Menstrual-like cramping — You may or may not be uncomfortable with these cramps, but they feel like the cramps you can get before or when you start your menstrual period.
- Gas-type pains — Feels like sharp pains in your stomach, or like a stomach virus. You also can have diarrhea or nausea.
- Low pelvic pressure — Feels like the baby is putting a lot of heavy pressure down very low inside.
- Low backache — Can be a strong or a dull ache.
- Blood — Can be either light spotting or more blood like during a menstrual period. Blood can be red or brown in color.
- Increased discharge — Much more discharge than what you are used to during your pregnancy. Can even be a sudden gush of a lot of water, or a small trickle or leak of water that is continuous. Discharge can be watery, pinkish, or brownish in color.