Getting the timing right
Everybody’s labour is different so there’s no hard and fast rule about when to go to the hospital. Generally, it’s best to call your midwife or the hospital first so they can assess whether they think it’s time for you to go in.
You might be told to wait until your contractions are closer together or your midwife may say that you are ready to go in. Either way, she’ll advise you on the best thing to do depending on your individual situation.
What your midwife will want to know
The reason to call before going to the hospital for labour is so that your midwife can talk to you about what you are feeling and how you are coping. Through this she can advise you what to do. She’ll ask you:
- How you’re doing and when you last felt your baby move.
- How long the contractions have been happening, how far apart they are and how long they last.
- If your waters have broken or you have any vaginal discharge or bleeding.
- Whether it’s your first baby.
She’ll then advise you whether or not to go in or wait a bit longer.
Signs that you should call your midwife or hospital straight away
If any of the following happen, you should get in touch with your midwife or hospital. If you aren’t able to call, head straight there so that they can make sure everything is ok and give you the attention you need. Don’t be afraid to call for an ambulance if you’re on your own and unable to get to the hospital yourself.
- If you’re less than 37 weeks pregnant and are feeling contractions.
- If you feel there have been changes – either an increase or a decrease – to your baby’s normal movements.
- If your contractions are too strong for you to cope with.
Could it be a false alarm?
Before you’ve experienced the real thing, the practice labour pains of Braxton Hicks can make you think your baby’s almost ready to make their big entrance.