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Premature labour (or preterm labour) is labour that starts before 37 weeks.

In general, the more premature a baby is, the greater the chance they will have health problems. But there are treatments that can delay the birth, and treatments to reduce the risk of health problems for babies who are born preterm.

Go to your nearest maternity unit if you think you're in premature labour.

One in 16 women will have a preterm birth. Over 4,500 babies are born prematurely in Ireland every year.

page last reviewed: 18/09/2018
next review due: 18/09/2021