For some women, the signs and symptoms of preterm labor are unmistakable. For others, they're more subtle. During pregnancy, be on the lookout for:

  • Regular or frequent contractions — a tightening sensation in the abdomen
  • Constant low, dull backache
  • A sensation of pelvic or lower abdominal pressure
  • Mild abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding
  • Watery vaginal discharge (water breaking) — in a gush or a trickle
  • A change in vaginal discharge

If you're concerned about what you're feeling — especially if you have vaginal bleeding accompanied by abdominal cramps or pain — contact your health care provider right away. Don't worry about mistaking false labor for the real thing. Everyone will be pleased if it's a false alarm.

Dec. 04, 2014

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.