When Should I Go to the Hospital During Labor?

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:

  1. Vomiting with contractions
  2. Feeling rectal pressure
  3. Unable to talk or walk through contractions
  4. Bag of waters broke
  5. Positive GBS result
  6. The commute to the hospital is far
  7. 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.

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