A normal pregnancy last about 40 weeks, but sometimes labor may begin earlier, before 37th week of pregnancy. This happens because uterine contractions cause the cervix to open up earlier than normal. In such the case the baby is born premature and may be at health risks. However, by knowing the symptoms of and by avoiding some of the risk factors, such a condition may be avoided. A contraction is when the muscles of your uterus contract and as a result your abdomen hardens, as the contraction goes away your uterus becomes soft.
Warning signs and symptoms of premature contractions:
• More than 5 uterine contractions in an hour.
• Watery fluid leaking from your vagina
• Menstrual-like cramps in the lower abdomen
• Backache felt below the waistline that may come and go or be constant
• Pelvic pressure that feels like your baby is pushing down
• Abdominal cramps may occur with or without diarrhea
• Increase or change in vaginal discharge
If you suffer from 1 or more of these symptoms, contact you doctor. While you wait for the help follow these steps:
• Empty your bladder.
• Lie down on your left side, this may slow down or stop signs and symptoms.
• Avoid lying flat on your back, this may cause contractions to increase.
• Drink several glasses of water, because dehydration can cause contractions.
• Monitor contractions for one hour by counting the minutes from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning to the next.
The treatment for premature contractions include:
• Magnesium Sulfate is a medication given through an IV, which may cause nausea temporarily. A large dose is given initially and then a smaller continuous dose is given for 12-24 hours or more.
• Corticosteroid is a medication given 24 hours before birth to help accelerate the baby’s lung and brain maturity.
• Oral medications are sometimes used to decrease the frequency of contractions, and may make women feel better.
• Being admitted to the hospital
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