Much research has been done to attempt to determine the cause of prematurity but the rate of premature births has not changed in 20 years. The following are some of the risk factors associated with preterm labor and preterm births. If you have any of the risk factors, it is important that you discuss them with your health care provider.

  • African American race (double the risk)
  • Twins or greater pregnancy
  • History of a premature baby (triples the risk)
  • Smoker
  • Unmarried
  • Infections of the female organs
  • Late or no prenatal care
  • Stress ( financial, social, job-related, family)

The 7 Warning Signs of Preterm Labor

  • Blood, water or other discharge on your underpants (from your vagina).
  • The baby is not moving around as much as usual.
  • You have a fever (100.4 degrees or higher) and/or chills.
  • You are having constant uterine contractions. These may feel like cramps or you may not feel any discomfort at all.
  • Lower abdominal, thigh or vaginal pain or pressure.
  • Ache, pain or pressure in your back.
  • Ongoing abdominal cramps with or without loose bowel movements.
  • Call your health care provider if you are having any of these warning signs.


VCU Medical Center Patient Information
VCU Medical Center Women’s Health Services
Children’s Health Involving Parents (CHIP of Richmond)
Family Lifeline
March of Dimes
March of Dimes (Spanish) 
American Baby Magazine
Parents Magazine
Baby Center
Safe Sleeping
Consumer Product Safety Commission Crib Safety Guides
Premature BirthText4Baby

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