Who Is At Risk for Preterm Labour?

Being aware of your risk for preterm labour can help you take a more active role in your pregnancy and your baby’s health, and you may want to ask for a fetal fibronectin test based on your risk factors. Together, you and your doctor or midwife can use this knowledge to work out a plan.

The causes of preterm births are not fully understood, although there are some related risk factors.

Traditional risk factors include5:

  • Previous preterm birth
  • Pregnant with twins or more
  • Problems with the uterus, cervix or placenta

If you have any of these risk factors, it’s especially important for you to know the symptoms of preterm labour and what to do if they occur.


  1. World Health Organisation (WHO). Preterm Birth – Key Facts. Available at: http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/preterm-birth
  2. Bliss.org.uk. Prematurity Statistics in the UK. How many babies are born prematurely in the UK? Available at: https://www.bliss.org.uk/parents/in-hospital/neonatal-care-statistics/prematurity-statistics-in-the-uk
  3. ACOG Technical Bulletin, 1995, No. 206; National Vital Statistics Report 2000;48(3)
  4. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Preterm labour guidance. Published November 2015. Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng25/resources/preterm-labour-and-birth-pdf-725177521861
  5. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Diagnostic consultation document. March 2018. Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/gid-dg10017/documents/diagnostics-consultation-document
  6. National Health Service (NHS). Premature labour and birth. November 2017. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/premature-early-labour/#signs-of-premature-labour


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