A normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. Occasionally, labour begins prematurely before 37 weeks of pregnancy. This happens because uterine contractions cause the cervix (opening to the womb) to open earlier than normal.
Preterm birth is a birth that occurs 3 weeks or more before the baby is due (before 37 weeks gestation). If a baby is born too early it is at higher risk of needing additional care.
It is important for all pregnant women to know the signs of preterm labour and what they need to do. If you are at all concerned contact your prenatal home care nurse or the Jim Pattison Children's Hospital.