Going to the Hospital
Many women are afraid to show up at the hospital too early just to be sent home. It’s useful to understand labor in different stages. It starts with home labor and then hospital labor. Once in the hospital, there is the slow part of labor, the fast part of labor, pushing, delivering the baby and delivering the placenta. Sometimes its obvious that a patient should be admitted in labor; other times it’s more difficult to figure out. The process of diagnosing labor can be confusing and/or frustrating, for patients and for the hospital staff.
Home labor Typically turns to hospital labor WHEN:
- The water bag breaks.
- The contractions are coming closer than every 5 minutes, and have been that frequent for 90 minutes.
- The cervix is dilated WITH painful contractions. (4 centimeters usually enough, 2 cm may not be enough)
- The cervix dilates over one or two hours. (3 goes to 4 cm is usually enough, 2 cm to 3 cm may not be)
After arriving at the hospital, patients meet the labor floor staff, including the nurse, resident, the attending, and sometimes a medical student. The staff must first review the course of the pregnancy, your medical history, and document things in the electronic health record.
After we have confirmed that the baby’s head is down with a brief ultrasound done right at the bedside, we start an intravenous line (IV), and begin monitoring the uterus with two hockey-puck sized devices. One puck is a microphone, to listen to the baby, and the other puck is a used to measure contractions. And then we wait!
NO MATTER WHAT we can describe on paper, if a pregnant woman is having symptoms which just don’t add up or if something is JUST NOT RIGHT, then call the office or go to the hospital to be evaluated. Important Phone Numbers