Preterm Labor - What might cause it? What is it? How can you prevent it?

You maybe asking what is preterm labor exactly? Well, in this post I will give you some helpful information that can be useful if you show any of the signs of it or feel like something isn't right.

I personally have dealt with preterm labor with my first child. I had him at 34 weeks, due to stress. He spent 13 days in the NICU under excellent care, due to jaundice and breathing issues. My daughter was born at 37 weeks, and I'm hoping this baby will not be preterm. To be able to help prevent preterm labor, I get a weekly Makena injection by a home nurse.

What is preterm labor?
It's when you go into labor after week 20. Before that time frame, it's considered a miscarriage. Doctors like to keep an eye on you if you've had previous preterm labors in the past, and they may even ask you to get a weekly shot of Makena after 19 weeks up until 36 weeks. I get the Makena injection weekly in home, unless it's a week of my midwife appointment at the office, then I just take the injection box with me to her office, and a nurse does it while I'm already there.

What causes preterm labor?
No one can be 100% certain on what exactly is the cause of preterm labor, but there are a few different factors that can play a role in contractions and early dilation of your cervix.

What may cause preterm labor?
- Smoking, alcohol, and drug use 
- Short intervals between pregnancies
- Carrying multiples
- Maternal age
- Uterine and vaginal infections
- Pregnancy complications
- Structural anomalities of the uterus and/or cervix
- Gum infections
- Stress levels
- Occupational factors
- Previous preterm birth

How can you prevent preterm labor?
- Aim for 18 months between pregnancies
- Control what you can - smoking, drinking, illegal drugs - stop these
- See your doctor for earlier prenatal care
- Take prenatal vitamins
- Watch your weight
- Eat healthy
- Eat often
- Keep yourself hydrated
- Go when you gotta go to the bathroom
- Brush your teeth regularly


  1. Pre term labor can be a really scary thing to deal with. It's great to know what triggers it and how to prevent it from happening.

  2. so many potential hazards! Sometimes it's a wonder that so many women actually make it full term!

  3. I was lucky not to experience preterm labor but this is a great resource!

  4. Gum infections? That is shocking to me. There's quite a bit of valuable info here!

  5. I have had a sister to go through this. Pregnancy can be so scary at times!

  6. I was always so scared of preterm labor. With both of my pregnancies I went to L&D with an early labor scare.

  7. I was always worried about pre-term labor but both of my kids kept cooking till it was my due date. It's great to know the signs and be prepared.

  8. This is such great information, especially for first time mothers. Thankfully both my babies went full term!

  9. I had the opposite problem in my baby bearing years.. I always went over! haha! You've included some great information in this post.

  10. Of all the pregnancy issues I have dealt with this isn't one thankfully. I do know several women who have, so very scary!

  11. Both of my kids came at 37 weeks. I'm afraid if I have another, they could come even earlier.