Recognizing Preterm Labor


Dear Midwife,
I am 27 weeks pregnant, and am concerned because the baby feels extremely low in my pelvis. There is more pressure on my bladder than normal.

I've been having false contractions on and off for the last week. Is this a sign of the baby being born pre-mature?


It sounds like this is not your first baby, since you seem to know what "normal" is. Especially if this is your second baby, you will notice a big difference in how you carry the baby, how soon you feel Braxton-Hicks contractions, and the pressure on your bladder. The first baby stretched everything out!

On the other hand, if you have any bleeding or leaking or you have more than four painful contractions in an hour, of course you should notify your provider.

-- Cynthia, CNM. PhD.

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Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.