Prevent Early Labor (and Know the Signs)

Premature births (before 37 weeks) are on the rise in the U.S. To reduce your risk, the March of Dimes suggests:

> Get prenatal care as soon as you think you’re pregnant.

> Don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs or herbs that are not prescribed by your health care provider.

> Reduce stress.

> If you’re in an abusive relationship, get professional help to protect yourself and your baby.

If you have any of these signs, call your doctor right away:

> Contractions (your abdomen tightens every 10 minutes, or more often) or abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea

> Leaking fluid or bleeding from your vagina

> Pelvic pressure, the feeling that the baby is pushing down

> Low, dull backache