Premature labor occurs when a woman goes into labor before the 37th week of her pregnancy. Signs of preterm labor include contractions less than ten minutes apart, pelvic pressure, lower abdominal pain or a change in vaginal discharge. Babies born before the 37th week are premature babies, and have a higher risk of health issues such as breathing problems due to underdeveloped lungs, disabilities such as blindness and special learning needs. The earlier a baby is born, the higher the risk of health problems. In order to help the baby fully develop in the uterus, it is imperative to try to stop premature labor.
Things You'll Need
- Glass of water
- Stopwatch or timer
Call the doctor. It is very important that the obstetrician knows about any contractions or other problems prior to 37 weeks gestation.
Urinate. Having a full bladder increases the pressure in the uterus, which can cause more contractions.
Rest. Lie down positioned on your left side. Lying down on your back may result in more contractions, so avoid this position. For women experiencing preterm labor, bed rest may be necessary. In serious cases, the woman may have to stay in the hospital on bed rest to prolong the pregnancy as long as possible.
Stay hydrated. Dehydration leads to contractions, so drink a few glasses of water.
Time the contractions. Use a stopwatch or timer to determine how far apart the contractions are and if they are regular.
Get medical attention. Premature labor requires medical intervention. If the doctor's office isn't open, get to a hospital immediately.
Use medication. Doctors prescribe and administer several types of medication to halt preterm labor. Magnesium sulfate is one of the intravenous medications that doctors use to stop contractions. Terbutaline stops the uterus from contracting and comes in both sub-cutaneous and pill form.