Preterm Labor: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Safe Treatment Options

The truth of the matter is, once a woman is in labor, there is no medication or surgical procedure to forestall, other than temporarily delaying it. Preterm labor is an abnormal condition in the cycle of pregnancy, which happens because of the early opening of the cervix — a neck-shaped tissue that connects the uterus to the vagina — after the 20th week.


Preterm Labor: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Safe Treatment Options

This increases the likelihood of premature birth, which further means significant health risks for your newborn — even lifelong or life-threatening. First, we’ll educate you on the early warning signs of preterm labor. If you are experiencing even one of the below symptoms (or have concerns), consult your health care provider immediately.

Here, are signs which before the 37th week of pregnancy could be preterm labor:
➔ Unusual belly cramps (with or without diarrhea)
➔ Constant low backache
➔ Your water breaks
➔ Pressure in your lower belly (pelvis), as your baby is forcing a way out.
➔ Change in vaginal discharge has become bloody, watery, or mucus.
➔ Frequent contractions around the lower belly area,



What do I need to do if I am experiencing any (or all) of these symptoms?

The best way out is by consulting your healthcare provider right away. Your doctor will physically check your pelvis or may recommend a transvaginal ultrasound to decide whether the cervix tissue layer has become thin, ready to open for labor. 

A transvaginal ultrasound will be done inside of the vagina instead of outside your belly. Just like a regular ultrasound, transvaginal makes use of the sound waves to have your baby’s picture.

If you are having contractions, your doctor will examine how intense and wide apart these. Additionally, they may recommend other tests like the human fibronectin Elisa kit to find out whether you are in preterm labor.



Based on the tests, your doctor may prescribe medications or surgical means to halt it for healthy baby birth. Talk to your health care provider about treatment that is effective and safe for you.

How do I know that I am at risk of preterm labor?

Even doctors don’t know what causes preterm labor.
However, several factors contribute to your early labor. Here, are three prevalent high-risk factors associated with preterm labor:
➔ You have/had health problems with your cervix or uterus.
➔ Youve had a premature birth.
➔ Youre pregnant with twins, triplets, or more.

Other essential high-risk factors include not getting proper prenatal care and smoking. If you want more information, speak to your doctor about what you need to do to lower your risk of preterm labor.

How to Treat Preterm Labor?

● Medications

Corticosteroids: 


Your doctor may prescribe you Corticosteroids for promoting your baby’s developing lung maturity if you are at risk of early birth. This medication is safe, but don’t start taking it on your own. A proper course of corticosteroids is two weeks.

Magnesium Sulfate:


If your doctor discovers that you can deliver your baby between 24 and 32 weeks of pregnancy, they can prescribe the Magnesium sulfate tablets. Some medical research has also shown this medication can lower the risk of brain damage to the babies born before 32 weeks of pregnancy.

Tocolytics: 

This is among the most widely prescribed medicines for temporarily slow contractions. Your doctor may give you medication for two days for delaying preterm labor. Or, if necessary, you'll be advised to get hospitalized for getting specialized care for your premature pregnancy.

● Surgical Procedures

In a medical scenario, when your short cervix is putting you at risk of preterm labor, your health care provider may suggest cervical cerclage, a surgical means to stitch the cervix opening using sutures.

Typically, once the 36th weeks of your pregnancy have been completed, your doctor will remove the stitches.

However, this surgery is done when the patient is less than 24 weeks pregnant, and you have a history of premature birth or ultrasound that has revealed that the cervical opening is less than 25mm.

Are there any preventive medications for preterm labor?

Your doctor might suggest a shot of the hormone progesterone, also known as hydroxyprogesterone caproate once a week, starting from your second trimester until the 37th week of your pregnancy.

Besides, your health care provider may suggest having progesterone inserted into the vagina as a preventive means to prevent premature birth. This is only recommended if you are diagnosed with a short cervix before your 34th week of pregnancy.

Conclusion
It’s important to be aware of the early signs, and talk to your health care provider if you have any other concerns during your labor.

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