Responses of Pregnant Women to Potential Preterm Labor Symptoms

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ObjectiveTo examine the knowledge that healthy pregnant women have of appropriate actions to take in response to hypothetical symptoms of preterm labor.DesignThis was a descriptive, correlational study using a convenience sample.SettingSubjects were recruited from the private practices of obstetricians and nurse-midwives.ParticipantsThree hundred twenty pregnant women who were between 20 and 32 weeks gestation were asked to complete a 17-item demographic information sheet and an 18-item Health Pregnancy Questionnaire while waiting for prenatal visits. Questionnaires from 269 women were appropriate for analysis.ResultsMost respondents could select appropriate action responses to items that identified obvious symptoms of being in preterm labor. In response to three questions that posed hypothetical preterm labor symptoms that were more subtle or were similar to normally occurring discomforts of pregnancy, between 26% and 35% of the women selected a choice that would have delayed entry into care. With a 95% confidence interval, significant positive relationships were found between selecting best responses and having experienced a previous preterm labor and maternal age.ConclusionThis study supports the need for all pregnant women to receive information on identification of preterm labor symptoms and appropriate actions to take with regard to these symptoms.

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