Pregnancy - Labor Symptoms

Labor Symptoms

Signs/Symptoms of Preterm Labor (before 36 weeks gestation): 

  • Painful or painless uterine contractions, regular in timing, 6 or more per hour 

  • Uterine contractions unrelieved by rest, fluids, and bladder emptying 

  • Sensation of abdominal tightening 

  • Cramping 

  • Dull low backache - constant 

  • Pelvic pressure or heaviness 

  • Increased vaginal discharge or change in discharge 

  • Gush or trickle of fluid 


* Findings of Real or True Labor  

    - Contractions become fairly regular. 

    - Contractions over a time period become stronger and more frequent. 

    - Contractions continue to increase in intensity with walking around. 

    - Contractions typically start in the lower back and wrap around to the lower abdomen. 

    - Bloody show. 

    - Rupture of membranes occurs (may occur late in labor). 


  • Lower back pain, diarrhea, pelvic pressure, vaginal discharge changes, tightening or cramping in the lower abdomen or pelvis may be indications of pre-term labor before 36 weeks 


*Timing Contractions 

    - Contractions are timed from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next. 


Kick Count Instructions: 

    - Most women will be able to feel the baby move by the 18-20th week of pregnancy. 

    - Sit back in a comfortable chair or lay down on your left side in bed. Do this in a quiet room (no TV, cell phone, computer, or children). 

    - Count any baby movement (kicks, rolls, flutters). Count up to 10. 

    - Normal Kick Count: 5 or more in one hour or 10 or more in 2 hours. 

    - Low Kick Count: Less than 5 in one hour or less than 10 in 2 hours. Go to L/D or Speak with your PCP right away. 




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