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Pregnancy and Before Links

Parent Drop-In Program

Prenatal Classes

Smoking Cessation Programs & Services in Lambton County

Premature Labour: What to Do if it Happens to You

This page was reviewed or revised on Thursday, October 29, 2009 1:53 PM

What is it?

Premature, or preterm labour is labour that starts after the 20th week of pregnancy but before the 37th week.


How will I know?

If you have some of these signs, you could be in premature labour:

  • contractions every 10 minutes or more often
  • menstrual cramps in your lower tummy
  • a dull ache in your lower back
  • pressure that feels like the baby is pushing down
  • a crampy feeling in your bowels with or without diarrhea
  • bleeding, leaking or a discharge from your vagina (more than usual or with a change in consistency or colour)


What Should I Do?

If you feel like you’re having any of these signs or symptoms, you should:

  • lie down on your side, and place a pillow behind your back for support
  • check for contractions for 1 hour
  • if you have contractions, time them from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next one


Call your caregiver, or go to the hospital if:

  • you have regular contractions every 10 minutes or more often for 1 hour; or
  • you have any of the above signs or symptoms for 1 hour; or
  • you have any spotting or leaking of fluid from your vagina.