For doctors

11 things that can cause preterm labor and early delivery

Uterine stretching

The uterus is a muscle. Like any other muscle, when it’s stretched, it can contract, causing early labor.

Factors that stretch the uterus can cause contractions, which in turn can trigger early labor. Such factors include having multiple babies, excessive amniotic fluid, fibroids in the uterine wall, and having a large baby.


  1. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Practice Bulletin #130: Prediction and prevention of preterm birth. October 2012.
  2. SG Gabbe et al. Obstetrics: Normal and problem pregnancies. 5th ed.
  3. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologsits. Patient FAQ#87: Preterm (premature) labor and birth. September 2015.

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