What is Preterm Labor?

Preterm labor is labor that begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy, instead of the 40 weeks that is normally required. This can result in premature birth, which puts your baby at greater risk for health complications. While the exact cause of preterm labor is not clear, there are certain risk factors that may increase your chances, including smoking, being under 20 or over 35 years old, having experienced preterm birth in the past, stress, and more.

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Common signs and symptoms of preterm labor include:

  • Frequent contractions.
  • A feeling of lower abdominal pressure.
  • Consistent, dull aching of the lower back.
  • Abdominal cramping.
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding.
  • A vaginal gush or continuous trickle of fluid.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and are not yet due to deliver, be sure to contact our office right away. Do not worry about these symptoms being a sign of a “false alarm”, as we would rather be cautious.


Welcome to my practice. Let me introduce myself and my practice philosophy. I am a board certified OB/GYN in practice for over 20 years and have been a solo-practitioner on the Upper East Side of Manhattan since 2000. All deliveries are performed at The Mount Sinai Medical Center where I went to medical school and at Lenox Hill Hospital.

Preterm Labor Diagnosis and Prevention

In order to diagnose your chances for preterm labor, Dr. Tepper will review your medical history and risk factors, as well as assess your signs and symptoms. If you are experiencing regular uterine contractions and your cervix has begun to dilate before 37 weeks of pregnancy, you will likely be diagnosed with preterm labor. Dr. Tepper may also perform a number of procedures or tests for diagnosis, including a pelvic exam, ultrasound, lab tests, and uterine monitoring.

While there is no way to stop preterm labor once it is in motion, there are some medications that may be given to prevent early delivery or temporarily slow your contractions. These include:

  • Corticosteroids: For women who are between 23 and 34 weeks and are at an increased risk of delivery in the following days, corticosteroids may be recommended to help promote the baby’s lung maturity. If you are less than 34 weeks pregnant, you may be given a repeat course of corticosteroids.
  • Magnesium sulfate: If you are at high risk of delivering between 24-32 weeks of pregnancy, magnesium sulfate may be recommended to reduce the risk of your baby developing cerebral palsy.
  • Tocolytics: In cases where you are experiencing premature contractions, a medication called a tocolytic may be given to slow your contractions. This form of medication can be used for 48 hours to prevent premature labor.
  • Progesterone: For individuals with a history of preterm birth, weekly shots of a form of progesterone called hydroxyprogesterone caproate may be given during the second trimester and continue until week 37 of pregnancy.

Overall, the treatment that is right for you will depend on many different factors. Dr. Tepper will work with you to determine the best plan of action to ensure successful delivery.


Whether you are a new or returning patient, Dr. Tepper can assess your concerns and discuss your options to find the most comfortable and convenient care for you. To get started, call our office to set up an appointment.


Contact Us to Learn More

For more information regarding preterm labor diagnosis and prevention, please contact our office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tepper. Our goal is to provide each of our patients with the compassionate, professional care they deserve for a positive delivery experience.

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