Strong contractions at 28 weeks: What can I do?

My wife, 29 weeks pregnant with our second child, began experiencing frequent, strong and painful contractions four weeks ago, but she has not dilated yet! Three days ago, she awoke at 3 a.m. screaming from contractions as strong as those during her first delivery. Despite bedrest, she is having one to four contractions per hour. The doctor hasn't put her on medication or the home contraction monitor. Are there over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, sleeping positions or diets that may help? Also, what about Beta strep?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

This is truly an unusual story. If these contractions are not causing any cervical changes, it is necessary to look for other reasons for the pain. She should perhaps see an internist to rule out kidney or gall stones. A urine culture should be done. She should have an ultrasound to rule out any placental problems. I might also recommend a non-stress test to see how the baby is tolerating these "attacks."

Really, all organ systems should be checked out: Is this related to food, change in bowel habits, activity? Has she been checked for strep B, and all other possible infections?

A home monitor may be used, but they are not used often unless a woman has been proven to be at risk or has had preterm labor. Medications for preterm labor would not be used until some documentation of premature labor is made.

I think I would get a second opinion. Acute pain should never be taken lightly.

Regarding strep B infection, the only way to tell if she is a carrier is to have a vaginal culture done. It is a simple test, but routine screening typically is not done unless you are at high risk. I would request that one be done, although acute pain is not a symptom of strep B. It really has no symptoms.

I hope all turns out well for you.

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