False contractions begin in the third trimester. They can feel like a general tension in the uterus, as if it is squeezing into a ball, or as if the baby is turning over inside your belly. Typically, false contractions are painless and almost always last no more than 1 hour. Although all women have false contractions, not all women experience them, especially during their first pregnancy. Therefore, you shouldn't worry if you don't feel them.
Signs of preterm labor to be aware of
- Cramps above the pubic bone, similar to menstrual periods;
- squeezing or soreness in the pelvis, thighs or groin;
- dull back pain or a feeling of squeezing in the back;
- intestinal cramps or diarrhea;
- increasing vaginal discharge;
- A watery fluid, pink or brownish discharge, or blood from the vagina.
If you experience any of these symptoms, or have more than four contractions in an hour, call your doctor right away. You may be asked to come in for a checkup or time your contractions. You may feel a contraction (uterus tightening and relaxing) if you lightly touch your abdomen with your fingertips.
How to stop preterm labor
If you start having premature labor, your doctor will tell you how to stop it. He will probably suggest bed rest.
If your contractions continue, you may be hospitalized for a doctor to monitor your condition.
How to prevent premature birth
Here are some tips to help prevent the onset of premature labor.
If you are thirsty, drink a glass of water every two hours to avoid dehydration, which can make your uterus feel tender. If you are not thirsty, then you should not forcefully drink water. In the presence of edema, the drinking regime is limited.
Eat right to gain 11.5-16 kilograms during pregnancy.
Always wipe from front to back after using the toilet to avoid contamination.
Rest sitting with your legs raised about every hour. Don't lift weights.
If you are doing manual labor and you have contractions that do not go away, stop and rest.
Try to avoid stress.
Premature birth is a daunting prospect, but most women experience only false contractions that are completely safe.
Listen to yourself and be sure to contact your doctor if anything unusual happens.