If you develop any signs or symptoms of preterm labor, contact your health care provider right away. Depending on the circumstances, you might need immediate medical care.
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, as well as what to expect from your health care provider.
What you can do
Before your appointment, you might want to:
- Ask about pre-appointment restrictions. In most cases you'll be seen immediately. If that's not the case, ask whether you should restrict your activity while you wait for your appointment.
- Ask a loved one or friend to join you for your appointment. The fear you might be feeling about the possibility of preterm labor can make it difficult to focus on what your health care provider says. Take someone along who can help remember all the information.
- Write down questions to ask your health care provider. That way, you won't forget anything important that you want to ask, and you can make the most of your time with your health care provider.
Below are some basic questions to ask your health care provider about preterm labor. If any additional questions occur to you during your visit, don't hesitate to ask.
- Am I in labor?
- What can I do — if anything — to help prolong my pregnancy?
- Are there any treatments that could help the baby?
- What signs or symptoms should prompt me to call you?
- What signs or symptoms should prompt me to go to the hospital?
- What are the risks if my baby is born now?
What to expect from your health care provider
Your health care provider is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
Dec. 04, 2014
- When did you first notice your signs or symptoms?
- Are you having contractions? If so, how many an hour?
- Have you had any changes in vaginal discharge or bleeding?
- Have you been exposed to an infectious disease? Do you have a fever?
- Have you had any previous pregnancies, miscarriages, or cervical or uterine surgeries that I'm not aware of?
- Do you or did you smoke? How much?
- How far do you live from the hospital?
- How long would it take you to get to the hospital in an emergency, including time to arrange any necessary child care or transportation?
- Lockwood CJ. Overview of preterm labor and birth. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 30, 2014.
- Cunningham FG, et al. Williams Obstetrics. 24th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookid=1057. Accessed Oct. 3, 2014.
- Frequently asked questions. Labor, delivery and postpartum care FAQ087. Preterm (Premature) labor and birth. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Preterm-Premature-Labor-and-Birth. Accessed Sept. 30, 2014.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Obstetrics. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 127: Management of preterm labor. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2012;119:1308.
- Norwitz ER. Prevention of spontaneous preterm birth. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 30, 2014.
- Robinson JN, et al. Risk factors for preterm labor and delivery. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 30, 2014.
- DeCherney AH, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment Obstetrics & Gynecology.11th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookid=498. Accessed Oct. 3, 2014.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Obstetrics. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 142: Cerclage for the management of cervical insufficiency. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2014;123:372.
- Creasy RK, et al, eds. Creasy and Resnik's Maternal-Fetal Medicine: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.; Saunders Elsevier: 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 30, 2014.
- Frequently asked questions. Labor, delivery and postpartum care FAQ004. How to tell when labor begins. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/How-to-Tell-When-Labor-Begins. Accessed Oct. 6, 2014.
- Harms RW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 14, 2014.