Background Preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) is responsible for one third of all preterm births (PTBs). We have recently demonstrated that long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are differentially expressed in human placentas derived from PPROM, PTB, premature rupture of the membranes (PROM), and full-term birth (FTB), and determined the major biological pathways involved in PPROM. Methods Here, we further investigated the relationship of lncRNAs, which are differentially expressed in spontaneous PTB (sPTB) and PPROM placentas and are found to overlap a coding locus, with the differential expression of transcribed mRNAs at the same locus. Ten lncRNAs (five up-regulated and five down-regulated) and the lncRNA-associated 10 mRNAs (six up- and four down-regulated), which were identified by microarray in comparing PPROM vs. sPTB, were then validated by real-time quantitative PCR. Results A total of 62 (38 up- and 24 down-regulated) and 1,923 (790 up- and 1,133 down-regulated) lncRNAs were identified from placentas of premature labor (sPTB + PPROM), as compared to those from full-term labor (FTB + PROM) and from premature rupture of membranes (PPROM + PROM), as compared to those from non-rupture of membranes (sPTB + FTB), respectively. We found that a correlation existed between differentially expressed lncRNAs and their associated mRNAs, which could be grouped into four categories based on the gene strand (sense or antisense) of lncRNA and its paired transcript. These findings suggest that lncRNA regulates mRNA transcription through differential mechanisms. Differential expression of the transcripts PPP2R5C, STAM, TACC2, EML4, PAM, PDE4B, STAM, PPP2R5C, PDE4B, and EGFR indicated a co-expression among these mRNAs, which are involved in the ubiquitine-proteasome system (UPS), in addition to signaling transduction and beta adrenergic signaling, suggesting that imbalanced regulation of UPS may present an additional mechanism underlying the premature rupture of membrane in PPROM. Conclusion Differentially expressed lncRNAs that were identified from the human placentas of sPTB and PPROM may regulate their associated mRNAs through differential mechanisms and connect the ubiquitin-proteasome system with infection-inflammation pathways. Although the detailed mechanisms by which lncRNAs regulate their associated mRNAs in sPTB and PPROM are yet to be clarified, our findings open a new approach to explore the pathogenesis of sPTB and PPROM.