What is preterm labor?

Alexander Kofinas M.D.

Preterm labor is defined as the presence of uterine contractions along with progressive cervical shortening before the 37th week of gestation. Preterm labor does not necessarily lead to preterm delivery, which is defined as the delivery of a neonate before completion of the 37th week of gestation. The same is true of preterm deliveries, which can occur in the absence of preterm labor. In such cases, delivery is induced due to complications that affect either the mother or the fetus or both such as pre-eclampsia, diabetes, infection, growth failure, etc.