Uterine contractions: The uterus (womb) is composed of muscle fibers. A uterine contraction is the tightening of the muscles within the uterus. Using your fingertips to feel your uterus, you should be able to slightly indent your uterus when it is relaxed. During a contraction you can feel your uterus tighten and become hard. Contractions occur normally throughout pregnancy. They are usually painless and they can occur at any time. Certain activities such as changing your position or having a full bladder may cause you to have a contraction.
Menstrual-like cramps: These are felt low in the abdomen, just above the pubic bone. The cramping may be rhythmic, feeling like waves or fluttering. You may also feel a constant cramp.
Lower, dull backache: This backache is located mainly in the lower back and may radiate to the sides or front. It may be rhythmic or constant. And often is not relieved by changing position.
Pelvic pressure: You may feel pressure or fullness in the pelvic area, in your back or thighs. It may feel as though the baby is going to "fall out."
Intestinal cramps: These may occur in the presence or absence of diarrhea. You may have the feeling of "gas pains."
Increase or change in vaginal discharge: The amount may be more that that which is normal for you. The consistency may change to mucous or watery. The color may become pink or brown-tinged.
A general feeling that something is not right: even without a specific cause. If you experience any of the above, or if you feel something is different, contact your provider.
If your doctors/midwives and nurses believe that you are experiencing any of the early warning signs and symptoms of preterm labor, or are at-risk of experiencing preterm labor, you may be asked to do the following: