Key concerns
Signs of early labour
Why does early labour happen?
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Why does early labour happen?

It's a bit of an unknown area, and often doctors just don't know why a woman has gone into early labour, but there are some factors that can trigger it.

"Often it's due to an infection, that's the cause in about one third of cases," says Carol.

If you've already had a premature baby, there's a slightly higher chance of you having another premature birth.

Apparently, social factors can also play a part. Your age, class, education and even the type of job you do can make you more likely to go into labour early. If your job involves long hours and is very active, you might be more likely to go into labour early.

Smoking, taking drugs and being underweight are all linked to problems that can in turn cause premature birth.

So look after yourself and get plenty of rest. Sounds like a pretty good reason to put your feet up with a nice cuppa (and a packet of biscuits, of course!)

Finally, early labour could be due to heavy bleeding, an abnormality of the womb, cervical weakness and waters breaking early too.

Of course, the doctors might decide that your baby needs to be born early and induce labour, perhaps because your baby may not be growing as well as they should in your womb or if there are some other abnormalities.

But before you start to get worried, remember having one or more of these factors does not mean you will go into early labour, but it's worth being aware of some of the triggers that can increase the chances of a premature birth.

Sophie Herdman
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