What To Expect When You Reach The


When your contractions reach 6 minutes apart (even if the next contraction is 8 minutes apart) its time to grab everything you need for the hospital. So you don't tear anything or risk causing internal damage make sure you let your partner carry the heavy bags. Don't stop to call anyone before you leave unless absolutely necessary. Its always best to call family and friends when you are admitted and in your LDR (Labor Delivery Room).

If you have a child or children and family member or friend is taking care of your child/children its ok to take the time to call the caretaker and have him/her come over to your house but if you are expecting the caretaker to come to your house give the caretaker a call when your contractions are at least 8 minutes apart if not 10 minutes apart so it gives the caretaker enough time to arrive. If you are taking your child/children to the caretakers house then leave when your contractions are 10 minutes apart. If you happen to leave when they are 6 minutes apart then you're still ok, just make sure that you don't spend more than 5 minutes dropping your child/children off.

If family members and friends are anxious to visit you while you are in labor and want to wait for the new arrival the best time to call them is when you are dilated 6 centimeters apart so they have enough time to get there and they don't have to wait over 7 hours before baby is born.

What to expect when you get to the hospital's ER may depend on what time you get there and also depends on how the ER runs after midnight when staff is limited.

If you reach the ER before the midnight to 6 am shift in most cases you will be asked to sign in at the desk. If your hospital's ER has a separate section for women then a wheel chair should be provided for you and nurse will wheel you to that section. Once you reach the main desk for that section you will be asked for the envelope with the medical files your OB gave you a few weeks beforehand. If your OB didn't give you a envelope then don't panic. These days with how long it takes to transfer files and how easy it is to misplace files a lot of Obs are providing their patients with a copy of their prenatal medical record so staff don't have to go through the hassle of getting everything transferred. If you don't have the envelope then they will just give your OB's office a call or your OB's office exchange number to request your records. At the desk they will ask you to fill out a quick form with basically name, address, age, allergies, the usual type of information when you fill out a form at a medical office. While you fill out the form they will take a look at your insurance card and confirm whether your recovery room (not the room you deliver in)will be private or shared. In most hospitals a private room is $40 a night and some insurance won't cover the cost. In most cases, unless there is some risk or concern, you will only stay 3 days and 2 night starting from the time you deliver and not the time you were admitted into the hospital. I strongly recommend a private room mainly because you will recover better and get more sleep. If you were to have a shared room you would be woken up every two hours from your roommate's baby coming in to feed and every two hours to feed your own baby. New moms also have the choice to have baby sleep in the room with mom instead of the nursery and I know from my own personal experience with having a private room and letting baby sleep in the same room that no one will sleep that night mainly because baby will be up at all hours but when they are in the nursery the nurses on duty will care for baby (beside feeding which they will bring baby to you) so that you can rest. In a private room you'll only be awaken by the nurses every two hours to feed your baby and every few hours for pain medication. You won't get as much sleep as you normally do but you will get at least some sleep in a private room.

Once your registration is done you'll be wheeled into a ER room. You will be asked to strip down just to your socks (no underwear and bra is optional but with how constricting it can be, for comfort I wouldn't advise wearing one) and you'll put a hospital gown on that will be provided and asked to lay on the bed. Once you have changed the nurse will come back into the room and she will hook you up to the monitor that will read when you are having a contraction, how strong the contractions are and baby's heartbeat. The way the nurse hooks you up to the monitor is by tying a elastic band around your stomach. There are two different types of monitors depending on each hospital. The oldest is a disk that is attached to wires that is placed under the elastic band to keep it in place. The newest is what looks like about the size and shape of a clenched fist. Gel is put on the monitor and clipped onto the underside of the elastic band. Both monitors press gently up against your stomach and when your stomach muscles tighten as a contraction starts and ends the monitor will pick up the tightening of your stomach muscles and the monitor will show how strong the contraction is. The monitor is also able to pick up baby's heartbeat the same way the little monitor was used in your OB's office, by a doppler. When wearing the monitor you need to stay in bed, relax and try not to move around much or the monitor could become loose and out of place. On the side of your bed should be the receiving end of the monitor which prints out how strong your baby's heartbeat is and how strong your contractions are, almost like a seismograph used in detecting earthquakes. From what I remember on the receiver on the left side the numbers show the strength of your contractions. A 120-128 are considered normal contractions and not active labor contractions. On the right side is your baby's heartbeat and anything 145-156 is considered normal.

Once you are hooked up to the monitor the nurse will keep you hooked up for 15 minutes to see how strong your contractions are and how far apart they are. The nurse may come back to ask a few medical questions so she can fill out more paper work for your file. After 15 minutes have passed the nurse will come back and check the monitor's data that was printed out in that 15 minutes of waiting. If it shows you are having active contractions (anything over 128) the nurse will check your cervix to see how far you are dilated. It is common to have your cervix checked before the monitor is put on you and after words. A midwife instead of a nurse may come in and check you depending on how busy things are in the ER. The midwife or nurse will then notify your OB that you have been admitted to the ER and let him/her know of your progress and ask for further instructions of what care your OB feels is necessary. If a labor Delivery Room (LDR) is not currently available your OB may have you walk for a hour to further progress your dilation and to possibly get your water to break on its own or may advise you be hooked up to the saline I.V. A saline I.V. is used to keep your body hydrated during labor since you may not be allowed a lot of fluids, possibly only ice chips just to keep your mouth from getting dry.


In some hospitals if not all because of staffing shortages between midnight and 6am if you come to the ER you may be directly taken up to the maternity floor and you will go through the exact same processes as above only you will have Labor Delivery staff taking good care of you and who know exactly what they are doing. The best way to determine if your hospital's ER is like that is to ask your OB.


If the monitor shows you are not in active labor the nurse will give your OB a call for further instructions. If you are 39-40 weeks then in most cases your OB will instruct that you walk around the halls around the ER for a hour (with no rests) and after that hour be hooked back up to the monitor for 15 minutes to see if active contractions start. If active labor still hasn't started then you'll be sent home. If you are at least two days past your due date then your OB may choose to induce. Don't feel bad if you are sent home, its common to have Braxton Hicks contractions feel like real contractions only difference is they go away when you sit down. Its also very common to have those Braxton Hicks contractions, go to the hospital feeling like you are in labor only to be sent home hours later after finding out its not real. I had the same experieince with my first pregnancy. I went in at midnight the day after my due date with strong braxton hicks contractions that went away when I sat down but continued when I moved around. After 4 hours I was sent home but the nurse told me after I was told the bad news that its very common for women even on their second pregnancy to come in only to find out they were having false labor and be sent home. She told me most end up coming back within 24 hrs in real labor and she was right. We got home at 4am and at 5am I started labor and was back by midnight that night. The nurse told me not to feel bad that it was better to be safe then sorry and it was the right thing to take the actions that I did. The best thing that came out of it was when I came back in real labor I didn't have to fill out any forms since they were filled out from my pervious visit so I was just admitted to a Labor Delivery Room.