When the uterus is contracting, but not causing a change in the cervix, it is known as irritable uterus. The contractions are generally irregular and occur before the due date. Irritable uterus can cause contractions to strengthen and organize, leading to preterm labor, so any contracting of the uterus before 37 weeks should be monitored closely.
There are many causes of irritable uterus:
If you notify your healthcare provider of these symptoms, your doctor will liekly check your cervix for dilation, effacement and length. You will be given a non-stress test to monitor contractions and an ultrasound may be performed to check the health of the developing baby. In some cases, your doctor may give you a prescription to decrease or stop contractions, adminsiter a fetal fibronectin test that can determine the likelihood of delivery within two weeks and put you on bedrest and pelvic rest (no sexual intercourse, orgasm or anything inserted into the vagina). A cerclage may be performed if a woman has had a history of preterm delivery, incompetent cervix or has not a reached the age of viability.
If you notice any of the following, you should immediately call your healthcare provider and/or proceed to your local labor and delivery unit:
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