Symptoms of Preterm Labor

Since more than half of spontaneous preterm births occur in women with no apparent risk factors,1 it is important to be aware of and educate your patients about the symptoms of preterm labor.1

According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), the signs and symptoms of preterm labor are the following2:

  • Change in type of vaginal discharge (watery, mucus, or bloody)
  • Increase in amount of discharge
  • Pelvic or lower abdominal pressure
  • Constant, low, dull backache
  • Mild abdominal cramps, with or without diarrhea
  • Regular or frequent contractions or uterine tightening, often painless
  • Ruptured membranes



  1. Mercer BM, Goldenberg RL, Moawad AH, et al. The preterm prediction study: effect of gestational age and cause of preterm birth on subsequent obstetric outcome. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1999;181:1216-1221.
  2. Frequently Asked Questions. ACOG website. Accessed July 25, 2017.

NIH Study

The role of fetal fibronectin in preterm birth

Get full text from PubMed


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