6 Preterm Labor Nursing Care Plans

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6 Preterm Labor Nursing Care Plans

Preterm labor, also called premature labor, is the onset of rhythmic uterine contractions that produce cervical change after fetal viability but before fetal maturity. It usually occurs between the 20th and 37th weeks of gestation.

Nursing Care Plans

Management involves suppression of preterm labor when tests show immature fetal pulmonary development, cervical dilation is less than 4 cm and the absence of factors that contraindicate continuation of pregnancy.

The nurse should monitor closely for signs of fetal or maternal distress, and provide comprehensive supportive care for patients with preterm labor.

Here are six (6) nursing care plans for preterm labor:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Activity Intolerance
  3. Risk for Poisoning
  4. Risk for Fetal Injury
  5. Acute Pain
  6. Deficient Knowledge
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Anxiety: Vague uneasy feeling of discomfort or dread accompanied by an autonomic response.

May be related to

  • Situational crisis
  • Perceived or actual threats to self and fetus

Possibly evidenced by

  • Increasing tension
  • Apprehension
  • Sympathetic stimulation

Desired Outcomes

  • Patient will verbalize understanding of individual situation and possible outcomes
  • Patient will report anxiety is reduced and/or manageable
  • Patient will appear relaxed; with maternal vital signs within normal limits.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Explain the procedures, nursing interventions, and treatment regimen. Keep communication open; discuss with the client the possible side effects and outcomes while maintaining an optimistic attitude.Information and knowledge of the reasons of these activities can decrease fear of the unknown.
Orient client and partner to labor suite environmentHelps client and/or significant others feel at ease and more comfortable in their surroundings.
Answer questions honestly, especially information regarding contraction pattern and fetal status.Provision of clear information can help the client or couple understand what is happening and may reduce anxiety.
Encourage use of relaxation techniques.Enables the client to obtain maximum benefit from rest periods; prevents muscle fatigue and improves uterine blood flow.
Encourage verbalization of fears or concerns.Can help reduce anxiety and stimulate identification of coping behaviors.
Monitor maternal and fetal vital signs.Vital signs of client and fetus may be altered by anxiety. Stabilization may reflect reduction anxiety level.
Assess support systems available to the client or couple, whether the client remains hospitalized or is to return home to await delivery.The assistance and caring of significant others, including caregivers, are extremely important during this time of uncertainty and stress. If the client is to return home, additional support will be required to meet self-care needs and homemaker activities as well as child care, as appropriate.
Administer sedative if other measures are not successful.Provides soothing and tranquilizing effect.
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See Also


You may also like the following posts and care plans:

Maternal and Newborn Care Plans


Nursing care plans related to the care of the pregnant mother and her infant. See care plans for maternity and obstetric nursing:

Further Reading


Recommended books and resources:

  1. Nursing Care Plans: Diagnoses, Interventions, and Outcomes
  2. Nurse's Pocket Guide: Diagnoses, Prioritized Interventions and Rationales
  3. Nursing Diagnoses 2015-17: Definitions and Classification
  4. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V-TR)
  5. Manual of Psychiatric Nursing Care Planning
  6. Maternal Newborn Nursing Care Plans
  7. Delmar's Maternal-Infant Nursing Care Plans, 2nd Edition
  8. Maternal Newborn Nursing Care Plans

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