If you’re pregnant for the first time, you’ve most likely wondered how you will know when you go into labor. What contractions feel like, what labor is like, and what you can expect when you arrive at the hospital to give birth.
It’s important to recognize labor signs and symptoms so that you can take action when the time comes and so that you don’t have any worry or fear.
In the last post, I talked about how to approach labor and what no one tells you about giving birth. But it’s also important to know when to go to the hospital and what to expect when you get there.
Watch this week’s episode where I walk you through how to know if you’re in labor and what to expect at the hospital.
- If you are having regular contractions, about 5 minutes apart from the beginning of one to the beginning of the next, it may be time. If you’re not sure, walk around a little, or try to rest. If the contractions seem to be getting more intense instead of going away, it’s time to go.
- Contractions can come and go. You may be having regular contractions at home, only to have them disappear when you get to the hospital. It happens. Try not to be upset if you are sent home.
- If you think your water may have broken, you need to go to the hospital (or birthing center, or call your provider). In late pregnancy, being leaky has become a sort of a normal event. You probably have more vaginal discharge, and you may leak urine when you cough or laugh. Isn’t pregnancy glamorous? All the same, if you have a gush of fluid and you don’t think its urine, don’t wait for contractions. Just go to the hospital. If your water has broken, it will be important to make sure labor starts, since the risk of infection inside the uterus increases with time.
- As you get closer to your due date, or if you are past your due date, pay more attention to your baby’s movements. If he isn’t moving as much as you’re used to, call your provider. We may be checking on you and your baby every week, but you spend every moment with your baby, and you know his routine better than anyone. Babies may sleep for longer periods of time as they get bigger, but you should still feel plenty of activity. If there is an abrupt change, call. Not tomorrow, now.
- If you are having symptoms that are new and different, contact your provider. I’m talking about severe headaches, pain up under your ribs, sudden increase in swelling, unremitting abdominal or pelvic pain that’s new; basically, anything out of the ordinary. Everything is probably okay, but do call.
I hope this helps. Remember, you’re not alone, and you’re not bothering your doctors when you call to share your “weird” concerns. We are here for you.