+1-403-510-8834 info@chinookcitydoulas.com
You may want to labor at home as long as possible. At the very least you want to avoid spending the whole night in the hospital waiting room only to be sent home and told your are not in labor or not far enough along in the labor process to be admitted. You have never experienced labor and childbirth before, or maybe you have but you were induced or had a previous scheduled surgical birth. In fact even second and third time moms can have anxiety about when they should be going to the hospital, when labor has begun.

​ So how do you know when to go to the hospital?

Worried you won’t recogise labor contractions when they begin? We’ve compiled the experiences of 11 women and what contractions felt like for them.

You’ve probably been told that you should labor at home as long as possible, especially if you have been planning to have a medication and intervention free birth. Your doctor may have given you a “cheat sheet” for knowing when to report to labor & delivery. South Calgary Primary Care Networks’s Low Risk Maternity Clinic offers a handout, Managing Early Labor At Home, that advises their patients:

EACH WOMAN EXPERIENCES LABOUR A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY. IT IS IMPORTANT TO TRUST YOUR BODY AND GO TO THE HOSPITAL WHENEVER YOU FEEL MOST COMFORTABLE. THE GENERAL RULE OF THUMB IS TO HEAD TO THE HOSPITAL:

• IF YOU HAVE A DECREASED FETAL MOVEMENT COUNT

• WHEN YOUR CONTRACTIONS ARE FIVE MINUTES APART, LASTING 60 SECONDS, AND YOU HAVE HAD THIS ACTIVITY FOR ABOUT AN HOUR, OR YOU CANNOT TALK THROUGH YOUR CONTRACTIONS

As a general rule of thumb, you can continue to labor at home if:

  • your bag of waters is still intact
  • your water has broken but the fluid is clear and you have not tested positive for group B strep
  • your contractions are not yet consistant
  • your contractions are more than 5 minutes apart
  • and of course, your pregnancy is full term (37+ weeks)

What if your water breaks?

WHEN TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL

We recommend you go to the hospital if and when:

  • your contractions are closer than five minutes apart for at least an hour and are taking your breath away
  • you or your partner are no longer comfortable laboring at home
  • your water has broken and the fluid is not clear (green or brown tinged)
  • you are group B strep positive, go to the hospital or follow the instructions your doctor has provided
  • you have been advised by your doctor to do so

You should call your doctor or go directly to labor & delivery if you experience:

  • abdominal pain that is persistant and does not go away
  • bright red bleeding
  • a fever
  • decreased fetal movement
  • signs and symtoms of labor prior to 37 weeks

WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE HOSPITAL

When you arrive at the hospital, the admitting staff will want to know when your contractions started, how far apart the contractions are, their length and intensity, and how you are managing them. They will ask whether your water has broken, the time it broke, and what color the fluid was.  They will also want to know if you have experienced any mucus loss or “bloody show”.

On the labour & delivery unit, the nurse will check your vital signs. The nurse may also place a monitor on your belly to measure your contractions and check your baby’s heart rate. The nurse or on-call doctor may want to perform a vaginal exam to see how many centimetres dilated you are and observe effacement. The information gathered will help them decide whether to admit you for the birth of your baby or if you can labor at home awhile longer.

Trust your body and trust yourself. You’ll know when it’s the right time for you to go to the hospital.

Please follow and like us:

Related Posts