When Should I Go to the Hospital to Have My Baby?

Having a baby can be the most exciting achievement you can ever go through! It can also come along with a massive amount of questions that you may have for your doctor, and that’s normal. Creating and birthing a tiny human shouldn’t be a simple task, and if it were, then it would be for everyone. There are many unknowns regarding the actual birthing process, and you might be asking yourself, “when I should go to the hospital to have my baby?”

Am I Prepared for Labor?

For some moms, not feeling as they are entirely ready to embark on their labor journey can cause unwanted stress. Being prepared for that last-minute ride to the hospital or midwife’s office can go a lot smoother if you have everything you may require at your fingertips. It’s usually the tiniest things like not having contact lens solution or the music you wanted to have during your birth that most seem to forget. Be on the ball with that packing list, and have your bag ready to go in an easy to remember spot so that when the time comes, it is the last thing you have to be worried about. Your partner can get his/her items packed and ready ahead of time also, even if it’s only a clean change of clothing or a small bag of toiletries to feel like themselves during the stay.

To Call or Not To Call?

Everyone knows that the hospital’s whole existence is to care for patients regardless if they’re a scheduled surgery happening, or if they’re a nervous Mom that could be in labor. Some that are pregnant feel more at ease walking through each step of their labor journey checking off their to-do lists. Calling the birthing center or hospital for a start can put you at ease or advise you that perhaps it isn’t quite time to arrive just yet. By calling ahead, you can notify the staff if you know you’re in active labor so that they get your delivery room started, or it can even stop an emergency by hearing your symptoms and telling you to rush there. Talking with the nursing staff can only help you during this time, but this is an optional step that you don’t have to follow through.

Perform a Dry Run

This is an optional step but always a fun one to get ready for your bundle of joy! Those last few weeks of pregnancy can become exhausting and anxious, making this dry run to the hospital not only educational but useful as well. You and your partner can explore the different ways to navigate your trip there and see the timing it took you to get there, and even what the traffic patterns look like at various times throughout the day. That’s the beauty of giving birth as your baby could arrive at any hour of the day!

Keep a Basket of Supplies

When you begin to feel those first few contractions of the uterus, and your mind starts to unravel, don’t let it cause you any additional negative emotions by being ready! Millions of women recall their labor experiences by telling stories of how they just sat there, not knowing what to do or how to cope with everything. Let’s face it, contractions are painful no matter how many children you’ve had in the past, so feeling at ease and having some go-to supplies is a must. In a comfortable place in your home to have contractions throw together some items you may treasure, such as a hand towel or two if you begin sweating, or a bottle of water, a phone charger, and so on. This can seem mundane, but it will be worth it on that special day when you don’t have time to get the things you badly need.

Download a Stopwatch App On Your Phone:

According to the experts at the renowned Kaiser Permanente medical group, knowing when to head to the hospital is all in the timing! Begin tracking those contractions if they seem to be sequential or in a pattern of one after another. Carefully gauge that time in between each contraction if that tightening lasts longer than 30 seconds. If during your tracking, you notice that they are between 5-7 minutes apart, then it’s certainly time to start making your way to having that baby.

Some Things To Consider

Most ladies that have already endured the birthing process will strongly advise that the rules of when to depart for the delivery room are a bit different for first-timers. Those that are experiencing contractions for the first time, generally speaking, have longer labor than those delivering a second or third child. While no two deliveries and labors are the same, it’s always best to stick to your gut. Should you feel at any point that the pain is far too intense or that you need medical attention, then certainly seek the assistance of your medical provider.

Warning Signs Not To Ignore

Being the first time, Mom can be very tricky battling all the what-ifs. There is nothing scarier than feeling as if something could potentially be happening with your baby before going into labor. Should you be experiencing any type of severe pelvic pain, bleeding, a high fever, cramping in the leg, nosebleeds, fainting, blurry vision, or chest pain, please get to the hospital. Significant complications such as preeclampsia can quickly seep in and cause a more stressful birth if not diagnosed and treated immediately. If, at any point, you are going back and forth doubting your symptoms, then contact your medical provider’s office for directions on the next steps. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when your baby and your health are concerned, and the worst thing that can happen is the emergency room sending you home with a bill of good health.