What Are the Symptoms of Preterm Labor?

Even if you don’t have any known risks, you should contact your doctor, nurse, or nurse-midwife if you have any of the warning signs of preterm labor, which may include:1

  • Contractions (your abdomen tightens like a fist) every 10 minutes, or more often
  • Change in vaginal discharge (leaking fluid or bleeding from your vagina)
  • Pelvic pressure — the feeling that your baby is pushing down
  • Low, dull backache
  • Cramps that feel like your period
  • Abdominal cramps, with or without diarrhea

You should not hesitate to share any other concerns you may have with your doctor, nurse, or nurse-midwife.


  1. Signs and symptoms of preterm labor and what to do. March of Dimes website.
    https://www.marchofdimes.org/complications/signs-and-symptoms-of-preterm-labor-infographic.aspx. Accessed October 6, 2017.

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Commonly asked questions about preterm birth.

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