Premature birth-the warning signs


In around 7% of the pregnancies, babies arrive earlier. This is called pre-mature delivery and cannot be avoided. In most cases, when the baby is born before the completion of 37 weeks of pregnancy, it is considered to be a pre-mature delivery.


You can see the signs when your baby might be born pre-maturely. You may experience an unusual discharge of blood, clear watery liquid or blood-tinged mucus, or you may have period like back pains or thigh pains for more than half of the day. You can even experience abdominal pain or a burning sensation which can be a sign of urinary tract infection. One can also see signs of pre-eclampsia such as distorted vision, flashing lights, severe headaches or pain and sudden swelling. From the 20th week, many women may experience Braxton-Hicks ‘practice’ contractions. In this, the womb can harden for almost 1 minute within every 15 minutes. In other words, if there are more than four uterine contractions within an hour, it can be a sign of pre-mature delivery. When the contractions are rapid and continuous, it can be a sign of labor and the woman has to be rushed to hospital.

It has to be first checked why the labor has started early by checking one’s heart rate and blood pressure. If the cause of the premature labor is an infection, it can be treated too.  The woman has to be checked for any sign of pre-eclampsia. The vaginal swabs have to be taken along with a urine sample. The woman may also have to go through an ultrasound.

If the pregnancy is of less than 35 weeks, the doctors may give the woman steroids to mature the baby’s lungs. The baby must be given time to develop the lungs and normally after the steroids there can be a delay of 48 hours for the baby’s lungs to develop. The drugs can’t be given for long as they have side-effects too.

It is therefore required that the presence of any of the above signs, must not be taken lightly and immediate medical attention is sought.