What is Preterm Labor?

Preterm labor is a condition in pregnancy where regular contractions have caused a change in your cervix which requires a medicine to relax the uterus.

What is Terbutaline?

Terbutaline is a medicine that will be prescribed to you by your care provider and is usually taken every 3 to 6 hours depending on your contraction pattern. It is very important not to miss any of your pills because your uterus is dependent on frequent dosing to maintain a relaxed state

Terbutaline is a very effective medicine, although it has some side effects that will not cause harm but can be uncomfortable.

These include:

  • Increased heart rate(Your heart rate should never exceed 120 beats per minute.)
  • Palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Headache(usually relieved by Tylenol)
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Sweating
  • Occasional ringing in the ears
  • Insomnia
  • Tremor

Important Things To Remember

  1. Take your pill on time. (This may require setting your alarm.)
  2. Make sure if you feel nauseated that you have something light in your stomach such as a couple of crackers or a piece of dry toast.
  3. If you notice an increase in the number of contractions you are having, make sure
    you note the number of contractions just before your next dose.
  4. Be aware of Preterm labor signs:
    >5 contractions in an hour leaking of water from your vagina change in fetal activity (normal should be at least 1 movement every 4 hours) spotting
  5. Know how to take your own heart rate (call if >120)
  6. Room temperature storage is sufficient, but protect from light and freezing. (It may cause the drug to be less effective.)

Things You Can Do For Discomforts

  • Tremors-This is normal and is a normal side effect.
  • Headaches-Tylenol is okay, a cold compress to the head, decrease the lights in the room.
  • Shortness of breath-Relax, sit upright, if not resolved, call the office.
  • Nausea-Review nausea and vomiting guidelines in your initial packet
  • Skin rash-Do not aggravate with perfumed lotions, over the counter hydrocortizone cream can be applied, aveeno bath may be soothing, benadryl 25mg may help before bed.
  • Insomnia-Warm bath, evening walk (if not on bedrest), massage, reading before you go to sleep.

Most side effects are transient and disappear over time.