Preterm labour is the onset of labour between 24 and 37 weeks of pregnancy and is characterized by regular and often painful uterine contractions. The cervix (opening to the uterus) can also start to open.
Half of all the women who experience symptoms of preterm labour will have no changes to their cervix and the contractions usually stop without treatment.
Management of threatened preterm labour
You will be assessed and examined by a midwife and a doctor and this will include:
1. Monitoring of your baby’s heartbeat with a cardiotocograph (CTG) machine
2. A speculum examination to see whether your cervix is opening and/or if your waters have broken
Observations of your contractions
There are tests that can help identify whether preterm birth is likely and may include a swob from the vagina or a scan