Pre term labour is when labour starts before your 37th week of pregnancy. Usually a pregnancy lasts approximately 40 weeks but 37 – 42 weeks of pregnancy is considered to be term. Your baby is fully developed by 37 weeks and if your pregnancy lasts for any longer than 37 weeks, your baby will just grow a little more and have more fat deposited beneath his/her skin.
If you think you are in labour before 37 weeks, call your hospital birthing unit immediately. You may be given medication to help mature your baby’s lungs and medication to try to stop your labour. Your baby may need to be admitted to the Special Care Nursery or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit if your baby births very early or is unwell.
If in doubt, always make a phone call to your health professional, doctor, midwife or hospital. They will be able to advise you what you need to do.