In Labor – Finally!! When to Go to the Hospital?
Did you know that most moms will go into labor in the middle of the night? And the main reason behind this is that at night your body is relaxed and rested. One of the cardinal rules of labor is that the more relaxed a mom is the faster labor progresses hence it stands to reason that labor would start when a mom is most relaxed which is in her sleep.
Early labor may actually go unnoticed and mom may sleep through her initial contractions. Early labor contractions feel like mild menstrual cramps. Mom may feel them in her lower or upper abdomen, she may feel them like spasmic lower back pain or she may even have a feeling of overall weakness which comes and goes. If there is no discharge from the vagina, then it makes sense for the mom to be at home. Obviously because at home, she is most relaxed.
However, if she feels that she is damp which means the amniotic fluid is leaking or, if she finds herself spotting then she should immediately head to the hospital as she may actually be further along in labor than she is feeling.
When you call your doctor to ascertain whether you should go to the hospital or not, there are three questions your doctor will ask you – Frequency, Duration and Leaking. You must be prepared with these answers and hence let me explain what they mean.
Frequency: means the time between contractions, typically how far apart your contractions are. This is timed from the start of one contraction to the start of the next contraction. In early labor, the frequency will be far apart and as you are close to delivery the frequency will be close together.
Duration: means the actual length of the contraction. This is measured as the time taken from the start of one contraction to the end of the same contraction. In early labor, the duration will be shorter and as you are closer to delivery the duration will become much longer.
Leaking: This naturally refers to the amniotic fluid. This is your baby’s sterile environment and if you are leaking then it means that the baby is also susceptible to infections. Hence your doctor needs to know whether he has to call you into the hospital and probably induce labor and deliver the baby.
Once you have decided that you are headed to the hospital make sure you pick your hospital bag and do not forget to pack in all the reports as the doctor may need to refer to the same.