Preterm labor is labor that starts before 37 weeks of pregnancy. This can lead to premature birth, which can put the baby at risk for a variety of health complications.

While the exact cause of preterm labor is not fully understood, those who smoke, are under 25 years or older than 35 years, or who have experienced preterm birth in the past may be at higher risk.

Read on to learn more about preterm birth and the methods used to delay labor.

Methods to Delay Preterm Labor

While there is no way to stop preterm labor once it has begun, there are some methods that can be used to prevent early delivery or slow contractions.

Medications for Prevention

Progesterone: Your doctor may advise weekly injections of the progesterone hormone in its hydroxyprogesterone caproate form beginning in your second trimester and continuing until week 37 of pregnancy if you have a history of preterm delivery. In addition, progesterone injections into the vagina may be recommended by your doctor as a defense against premature delivery. Your doctor may also advise using progesterone up to week 37 of pregnancy if a small cervix is discovered before week 24.

Corticosteroids: For women between 23 and 34 weeks pregnant and are at an increased risk of preterm delivery, corticosteroids may be recommended to help promote your baby’s lung maturity.

Magnesium Sulfate: Magnesium sulfate may be recommended for those who with a high risk of delivering between 24-34 weeks of pregnancy. This is because it may reduce the risk of the baby developing cerebral palsy.

Tocolytics: For women who are expereincing premature contractions, tocolytic may be given for 48 hours to slow the contractions.

You run the chance of experiencing another preterm labor if you’ve already given birth prematurely. Manage any risk factors and take action in response to early warning signs and symptoms with the help of your healthcare practitioner.

What to Do in The Event of Preterm Labor

Braxton Hicks contractions, which are frequent and don’t always indicate that your cervix will start to open, might be the source of preterm contractions. Try moving around, taking a break, or switching positions if you’re experiencing contractions that you believe might be early labor symptoms. However, if you believe you are having contractions and are concerned regarding preterm labor, be sure to seek medical assistance immediately.

Schedule a Consultation

Contact our office today to book a consultation with Dr. Alex Tepper for additional information on the diagnosis and prevention of preterm labor. Our mission is to offer each patient the professional, empathetic care they need for a 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.