When do I go to the hospital?
One question that I get asked all of the time, as a doula is, “when do I have to go to the hospital?”. In every childbirth class that I teach, there is at least one couple that will ask this question. It saddens me, because this question gives me a notion that their healthcare provider did not have an expectation conversation. I would think at the minimum, education would be provided on when to seek your provider. However, I am going to give these providers the benefit of doubt and say maybe the couple forgot what to do. It is a lot of information to unpack, especially when this is a couple’s first experience in pregnancy.
A general guideline of when to go to the hospital is when your contractions are 5 minutes apart, lasting for 1 minute each, over a span of 1 hour. We call this pattern the 5-1-1 Rule. Please remember that this is just a general guideline. Ultimately, you need to have a conversation with your provider to clarify when you should call them or arrive to the hospital.
There are times where you may need to call your provider sooner than the 5-1-1 rule. Those instances would include if mom is experiencing the following:
- Vomiting with contractions
- Feeling rectal pressure
- Unable to talk or walk through contractions
- Bag of waters broke
- Positive GBS result
- The commute to the hospital is far
- Quickly transitioning through all stages of labor
Always pay attention to your body. If something doesn’t seem right reach out to your healthcare provider.