When Should I Go to the Hospital for Labor? How to Know When It’s Time

When Should I Go to the Hospital for Labor How to Know When It’s Time

When should I go to the hospital for labor?” Whether you’re giving birth for the first time or tenth time, or you’re carrying twins or multiple babies, it’s imperative to know when it’s time to check into the hospital. 

“Since everyone’s experiences are different, there’s no specific time for going to the hospital. In most cases, it’s best to give the hospital or your midwife a call so they can determine whether you should go in. Your midwife may tell you it’s time to check-in or you may be told to come when your contractions are nearer together. Either way, your midwife will tell you what to do based on your specific situation.

Real Labor vs. False Labor

You could have false labor (also known as Braxton Hicks contractions) especially when your due date approaches. Braxton Hicks contractions are essential warm-ups for delivery when your uterus contracts and expands but it doesn’t mean it’s time.

The difference between real and false labor is that the latter can fool you into thinking it’s true when you’re actually not. When it comes to Braxton Hicks contractions, typical symptoms are the following:

  • They aren’t painful
  • There’s no pattern
  • They last no longer than one hour
  • They go away if you move about

When to Go to the Hospital

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During the final trimester, your body begins to ready itself for birth. If you’re having a C-Section, you just have to follow the schedule you agreed on to deliver your baby. But if you’re aiming for normal childbirth, you’ll have to watch out for the following:

You’re Experiencing Contractions

When contractions begin as mild and occasional cramps that slowly develop into more regular and painful occurrences, that’s when real labor has started. When contractions are so painful that you can’t do anything else, they’re more than likely to be real contractions.

Your Water Broke

If you think your water broke, let your doctor know right away. They may tell you to come to the hospital to verify that your amniotic fluid has actually ruptured. Or they might recommend that you remain at home for some time if you aren’t having any contractions yet. If you can’t get hold of your doctor, it’s best to pop into the hospital for evaluation.

You Have a High-Risk Pregnancy

Contact your midwife or doctor right away as soon as your water broke if you’re carrying twins or multiple babies, or suffer from other high-risk medical conditions. In these special cases, it’s not recommended to wait for contractions to start. You’ll need to get to the hospital as soon as possible. 

You’re Bleeding

Vaginal bleeding can indicate complications at any stage of pregnancy. Always inform your doctor if you’re bleeding. They can recommend what to do depending on how severe the bleeding is, how far gone you are, and other symptoms you could be having.

You Have Pre-eclampsia Symptoms

Contact your midwife or doctor immediately, or go straight to the ER if you suffer any of these:

  • Headaches, dizziness, or seizures
  • Blurred vision
  • Swelling of face and hands
  • Sudden weight gain (over 4 pounds in one week)
  • Severe abdominal or stomach pain or vomiting

Final thoughts

Your due date may be near, but it may not be time to go to the hospital just yet. So if you’re experiencing something unusual and you know that your baby’s due anytime, these signs can help you avoid checking in too soon (and getting sent back) or not arriving soon enough (and you don’t want that).

Thoughts? Advice? Share it on our comment section below, soon-to-be moms would love to know more!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I am in labor?
When contractions are so painful and come more frequently by the minute, they’re more than likely to be real labor contractions.

How soon should you go to the hospital after your water breaks?
Most of the time, you’ll still have a few hours to spare before labor starts. The first thing you should do is contact your midwife/doctor and then take it from there. Try not to panic. If you do, make sure somebody’s recording it. 😁

How can I dilate faster?
Keep moving! The most simple and recommended way is to walk around. Don’t make the mistake of trying any other methods that’s not medically approved. You’ve waited for months, what’s a few more hours?

Increased Baby Movement Before Labor: Is My Baby Kicking Too Much?

Increased Baby Movement Before Labor

Is there such a thing as an increased baby movement before labor? Apparently, there is.

But before we delve deeper into the issue, cast your mind back to when you first felt your baby moving. It was such an exciting moment for you, wasn’t it? Then those flutters turned into hard kicks to your bladder, and what you once looked forward to is making you pee in your dress at the convenience store. 

Still, the kicks remind you that your bulging belly isn’t just due to those tacos you ate at lunch, but because there’s indeed a baby inside you. And that’s awesome (except for when he’s practicing his kicking technique at 4 in the morning).

Baby Movement During Pregnancy

Most pregnant women feel more settled when there are regular baby movements. A movement of the baby (roll, kick, or flutter) is often first felt 18-20 weeks into pregnancy.

The number of movements steadily increases until around 32 weeks into pregnancy and then stays more or less frequent until childbirth.

Most babies stay still as they sleep, for up for 90 minutes at a time. Other times, they can be felt moving for 20 to 40-minute episodes throughout the day. 

Each baby has its own movement patterns. While the baby runs out of room in the last stages of pregnancy due to increasing baby weight, it’s movements still remain regular and strong. But if your baby moves too much, or less frequently, there could be a problem.

When Does Baby Movement Start During Pregnancy?

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Babies begin moving at week 12, but moms may not feel anything apart from “flutters” until week 16 to 20. That’s when the first kick is thrown. The kicks should intensify, along with twitches (baby hiccups), through to trimester 3, slightly slowing down at around 36 weeks when the womb gets too congested for vigorous kicking.

Babies are most lively in the evening and morning, and the easiest way for mom to detect movements is when she’s lying down or sitting. Dads, let mom relax if you want to know how a kick feels!

At the start of trimester 3, doctors usually recommend that moms and dads begin keeping an eye on baby movements. If you suspect the baby is kicking less than normal (even after week 36), call your doctor right away.

Babies don’t move at all times but, generally, have up to 10 movements per hour in trimester 3. And keep a close eye on whatever is unusual for your child. If your baby constantly bounces against your tummy in the morning, just one morning without movement may indicate that something’s wrong.

Is Increased Baby Movement Before Labor a Cause for Concern?

Fetal movements usually increase when mom is hungry, indicating decreased sugar levels in both the mother and baby. This is like the increase in activity of animals seeking food when hungry, followed by a moment of inactivity when they’re fed.

Smaller babies might move more when their blood sugar starts to drop or when they’re hungry, as for some reason they’re already getting less food through the placenta, compared to bigger babies who receive an adequate placental supply.

A much more serious spectacle is when one episode of unusually forceful baby movements occur in the last stages of pregnancy. One study has linked this phenomenon to 7 times the risk of stillbirth. There are several possible causes of this, including infection-induced seizures or inadequate oxygen supply, or the baby trying to free itself from the umbilical cord wrapped around some area of the body.

Vigorous baby movement before labor, described as “crazy” or “frantic”, is different from the increasingly frequent, strong movements felt in a healthy pregnancy leading to childbirth.

Dealing with Increased Fetal Movement

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Each pregnancy is different. There’s no fixed number of kicks or movements your baby should make, so it’s unlikely that he’s moving “too much”.

But if your fetus is moving so much so that you can’t relax or rest, trying walking about for some time. Walking around will cause a rocking motion that can soothe your child in the womb—just as it’ll once you’ve given birth—and help her drift off so you can also get some rest. 

Avoid caffeine, as it might stimulate your tot to get more active.

Last Words

While a very active fetus is unlikely to be worrisome, you should pay attention to movements that are considerably different from what you consider normal. You should report any sudden, unexpected and vigorous episodes of movements immediately, particularly if they suddenly go up for some time followed by inactivity.

When it comes to increased baby movement before labor, always trust your gut and let your doctor or midwife know if something feels “off” to you.

7 Weird Signs of Labor You Probably Didn’t Know About

7 Weird Signs of Labor You Probably Didn’t Know About

Do you recognize the weird signs of labor below? Perhaps not. 

For the last 9 months or so, you’ve been getting ready for your baby’s arrival. But what you may not know is that there are actually many less known but odd labor signs that are fairly common.

Spotting (also known as the “bloody show”), contractions, dilation and water breaking down are all common signs of labor. And when they happen, you’re probably already on the way to the hospital or on a call with your obstetrician at the very least. 

Weird Signs of Labor

Did you know that not all labor signs are obvious? We’ve rounded up these odd signs of labor to help you know if your little bundle of joy is arriving soon.

Labored Breathing

When you’re pregnant, you get used to huffing and puffing. Even a walk to the bathroom can leave you out of breath. Did you know that this so-called “labored breathing” may suddenly stop at the end of pregnancy? 

The reason why breathing is easier at this time is that your baby has descended into the pelvis, in a process known as “lightening”. 

Your baby’s making all your organs squish together, often making it difficult for you to breathe. As your child is close to being born, you’ll finally be able to breathe freely. That’s a good thing as you’ll probably need lots of fresh air to get ready for all the “pushing” you’ll do soon. Exaggerated? You’ll see…

Mood Swings

pregnant mom holding her belly and her worried husband
Pregnant woman with husband in the bedroom

Have your mood swings increased lately, and you’re on an emotional rollercoaster? Or have you snapped at your family members as of late? If so, then it might be that you’re about to experience labor. 

The moodiness you might feel before labor very much resembles that moodiness you feel during PMS. If you’re feeling particularly low during the last weeks of pregnancy, cheer up because this will soon be over. You’ll soon be holding your baby in your arms – joy and happiness will replace that glumness.

Just explain to your loved ones that you don’t mean to get snappy, it’s just part of being pregnant. They will surely understand and give you the support you need during the last days of your pregnancy. 

Diarrhea

Your body naturally tries to remove anything in your bowel just before labor. And by emptying your bowel, it creates more space for your baby to move. Don’t even worry about going on number two while giving birth, it’s normal. Moms giving birth just can’t help it, and we assure you that you won’t even care about it! All nurses are used to this and will subtly clean it up even before you know it. 😉

If you’re still worried, (who wouldn’t – it’s a bit embarrassing!) we strongly recommend refraining from eating anything that will make your body scream “bathroom!” just minutes before you have to give birth. You especially won’t want that to happen while your screaming like a banshee, crying and pleading for your baby to finally come out.

Loss of Appetite

Pregnancy is one big rollercoaster. Perhaps you spent trimester 1 trying to limit your food intake, thanks to morning sickness. Your appetite then more than likely went up during trimester 2 and 3. This is good news as you’ll just want to savor all of your favorite food (the ones you’re allowed to eat while you’re pregnant). 

Unfortunately, your lack of appetite on your first trimester may return just before you get into labor. If this happens, you may soon be in labor. To help your stomach, you can eat crackers, broths and other light treats. You’ll want to ensure that your body has enough energy to completely win this challenge!

Nesting

pregnant mom touching a baby crib

While most pregnant women engage in some nesting of sorts in the last few weeks of pregnancy, this can intensify a few days before the actual due date. If you start cleaning anything you see for some reason, then it’s best to start preparing everything to ensure you have all that you’ll need for labor.

Weight Loss

During pregnancy, you kept fat and water to protect your body and help your developing kid. 

As hormones change in the final weeks of pregnancy, you may release a little of that stored fat and all the water weight. Plus, you may have a reduced appetite due to a nauseous tummy and your rather huge baby squeezing your stomach, so much that it can’t hold much food anymore.

When your weight drops at the end of trimester 3, you can expect your labor to start soon. Of course, not everyone experiences weight loss or weight gain during pregnancy. It’s a well-known fact that weight differences in expecting moms still depend on their preferences, discipline, or beliefs.

Dreams of Labor 

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Perhaps you’re hoping to catch enough sleep before one of the most important days of your life arrives but that’s often not the case. 

From being extremely uncomfortable in late pregnancy to the worries you might have about becoming a mother (again or for the first time) and the joy of the imminent arrival of your baby, it can be difficult to drift off. And when you fall asleep, you may actually have very intense and realistic dreams about labor. So do yourself a favor, stop or don’t even think about reading or watching videos about actual footage of childbirth. You’ll just needlessly scare the wits out of you!

Last Words

As you get closer and closer to your due date, remember that these weird signs of labor could be a warning sign that your little angel is coming home soon. Never assume though. These signs may be similar to most, but not everyone goes through the same thing. It’s still best to check with your doctor, especially if your baby’s moving a lot more than usual. They’ll understand if you’re persistently checking every now and then. You wouldn’t want to get too many false alarms – that’ll be mentally and physically exhausting for everyone! 😁

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some signs that labor is nearing?
Here are the odd signs of labor to help you know if your little bundle of joy is arriving soon:

  • Labored Breathing
  • Mood Swings
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Nesting
  • Weight Loss
  • Dreams of Labor

Is exhaustion a sign of labor coming?
To some, yes. But others claim that they experience the opposite. Honestly, most pregnant moms are easily exhausted no matter which trimester they are in. So we really can’t rely on exhaustion as a sign that your labor is coming.

What were your first labor signs?
Aside from the ones listed above, I also experienced the following:

  • Back pain that’s getting worse as time goes by
  • Belly cramps, commonly known as small contractions
  • Difficulty on breathing (not the same as heavy or labored breathing)
  • Extreme eagerness to walk around
  • Spotting

Do you get more emotional before labor?

Definitely! You and the people around you wouldn’t understand why your emotion’s all over the place, especially if your expected due date’s still weeks away. Most people call it “emotional” because most pregnant women whose about to go into labor can become a totally different person every time you blink. So just a piece of advice: tell your loved ones to blink very, VERY slowly… 🤣 Kidding aside, it will all pass. It’s just one of those precious moments that you’ll fondly reminisce years later.