fbpx

When to go to the hospital during pregnancy

When to go to the hospital during pregnancy

The answer to this question depends on a few factors.  If your pregnancy is beyond 37 weeks, your planned mode of birth is vaginal, your baby’s head is down & you’re having uterine contractions – it is safe to be in labor.  You want to ensure that the contractions you’re experiencing are “True labor” contractions.  If you have belly tightening & relaxing, lower abdominal cramping, pain that radiates to the lower back or inner thighs that is relieved by changing position, drinking lots of water, or taking a shower – you are likely experiencing false labor.  If nothing you do relieves the contraction pain – you are likely in one of the phases of labor.  

It is quite normal for first time mums & pregnant people to be in latent or early labor for a few days so you don’t want to rush to the hospital at the first signs of contractions.  Start timing your contractions once you’ve been experiencing them consistently & they’re unrelieved by palliative measures.  There are 2 things to consider when counting your contractions – duration & frequency.  

  • To calculate the duration, note the time from the beginning of one contraction to the end of that same contraction.  
  • To calculate the frequency, note the time from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next.  

If this is your first labor & birth, come to the hospital with contractions occurring every 4 minutes lasting 60 secs or more for more than 1 hour.  This method is sometimes referred to as the 4-1-1 method.  If you have labored & birthed before & are experiencing contractions every 5 -7 minutes lasting a minute or more for more than an hour – it may be a good time for you to come in as well.  

Other reasons to go into the hospital:

  • Your water breaks.  Whether you have pain or no pain you should go into the hospital.  
  • Some vaginal bleeding in labor is normal & considered a good sign of labor progress.  Flow-like bleeding or bleeding like a period is never normal – call 911!
  • If you have concerns about your baby’s movements.  Be sure to follow the instructions given to activate movement but if you still don’t perceive improved movement – present to the hospital right away!
  • If you < 37 weeks & experiencing labor pain, your water has broken or you have vaginal bleeding.
  • If you are scheduled for a cesarean birth because a vaingal birth is unsafe present to the hospital with labor pain, vaginal bleeding or if your water breaks.

Prepare for your little one’s arrival, sign up for out FREE Baby Care Workshop and start learning!