close   X

11/17/21 blog post

6 signs of pre-term labor

November 17 is prematurity awareness day

An estimated 15 million babies around the world are born premature each year. Although the United States has seen sustained improvement in its preterm birth rate, it has one of the highest rates of preterm birth of any industrialized country, and the rate increases for women and babies of color. In the U.S. each year 1 in 10 babies is born preterm.

Even if you do everything right during pregnancy, you can still have preterm labor and premature birth. Preterm labor is labor that starts too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Premature babies may have more health problems or need to stay in the hospital longer than babies born on time. 

If you have any of these signs or symptoms before your 37th week of pregnancy, you may be experiencing preterm labor:

  • Change in your vaginal discharge (watery, mucus or bloody) or more vaginal discharge than usual
  • Pressure in your pelvis or lower belly, like your baby is pushing down
  • Constant low, dull backache
  • Belly cramps with or without diarrhea
  • Regular or frequent contractions that make your belly tighten like a fist. The contractions may or may not be painful.
  • Your water breaks

Dayton Children's newborn intensive care unit

For nearly 50 years we have provided our NICU patients with family-centered care in a friendly, developmentally supportive and healing environment. Our Level III NICU is the most comprehensive NICU in the region and is the main referral center for premature and sick newborns. Newborns who reach our center have a 99 percent survival rate and a low incidence of complications. Our NICU is designed to meet the special needs of our medically fragile patients—and help their families develop close bonds with them as they grow stronger under our care.

The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign Collaborative aims to reduce premature birth in the United States and to give every baby a fair chance for a healthy full-term birth. Through the Collaborative, hundreds of organizations and experts work together on the shared challenge to “Achieve Equity and Demonstrated Improvements in Preterm Birth.”

To find out more about how the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign Collaborative and how you can make a difference, visit find out more about the