Ah, the question we hear as often as we stop through the drive-thru (we know, for shame, right?), is “When do I go to the hospital?” It’s really nerve-wracking to think you may not recognize when your baby is practically crawling out and you’ll somehow miss the memo that like, you’re in labor! Relax. Most of the time, people know! That said, there are a couple of ways that you will for sure, without a doubt, know that it is time to go the hospital. And hopefully, it doesn’t require a long car ride.

How will I know that it’s time to go to the hospital?

We aren’t gonna give you the entire rundown because there are multiple symptoms of impending birth. Also, we go over it all in our birth class, and frankly, that’s just too many words to type.  But we do have three tips to give you. Don’t need to be totally freaked!

  1. You have tunnel vision. You can’t think of anything except how miserable you are. If you are unable to focus on your breathing, are unable to distract yourself, and can only think of pain relief…it’s time to go to the hospital. If you have a support person, maybe you can hack it until you are just begging for that euphoria that is the epidural. Generally though, if you are repeating “where is the medicine man?” over and over, it’s a good bet to get going.
  2. The 3-1-1 rule applies. For the mathematically inclined, there is a simple equation. The rule of 3-1-1. When you are having contractions that last a minute each, every three minutes for at least an hour long, that’s your clue to haul on over to L&D. Now, some providers like the 5-1-1 rule, so ask your doctor to be sure. Every person is different, so it’s critical to be mindful about your personal circumstances.
  3. You feel like you need to use the bathroom. As soon as you think you are about to poop out a baby, you’ll need to get in that car and hope to beat traffic. Graphic, yes, but there is no mistaking that pressure in your bum. It is one of the best signs that birth is imminent. You’ll need to breathe through this heaviness, so it’s preferable to be at the hospital once (or even before) you reach this point. But some people are perpetual procrastinators and wait.

Memorize the above tips, and you’ll know when to go! How did you know it was time to go to the hospital?

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