When You Should Head To The Hospital (And When You Shouldn’t)

You are nearly there and waiting eagerly for your bundle of joy to make his/her entry in this world. But how do you when to go to the hospital? How do you know whether the hospital wouldn’t turn you away? What if those are not real labor pains but just Braxton Hicks that you are experiencing?


First things first, identify whether they are Braxton Hicks or real contractions. Here’s how you can do that. Remember that your body is prepping up for the delivery and therefore, it may feel real but it might just be Braxton Hicks.

  1. Braxton Hicks are sporadic in nature while your real labor pain can be timed and it would come at regular intervals.
  2. Labor pains would become more intense as time goes on, but Braxton Hicks are more of an uncomfortable pain rather than being unbearable.
  3. Often, just a glass of water and bed rest is enough to stop the Braxton Hicks. Usually,
    hyperactive people (who work more and drink less water) experience Braxton Hicks.
  4. If your water breaks or there is some unusual vaginal discharge, you are in labor
  5. Braxton Hicks can occur anytime, but they are more common in the early third trimester 

Signs Of Labor

If you experience any of these, then it’s time to head straight to the hospital.

  1. Passing off the mucus plug
  2. Contractions (rule out Braxton Hicks)
  3. Water breaking
  4. Dilation and effacement of the cervix
  5. Lightening (Process in which the baby settles or lowers into your pelvis)

When you think you are in true labor, start timing your contractions. (Or, have someone to do it) This would include the start time and end time and the intervals in between.

First time labors are usually a long process. The first pains are known as prodromal, latent or early labor and can last a day or two. It can even start and then stop. You can eat frequently and drink fluids (without too much sugar in it) to stay hydrated. Don’t exhaust yourself and remember to take ample rest. Most women like waiting this period out in the comforts of

their home rather than being admitted in a hospital.

Things You Can Do To Distract Yourself When In Pain

The first phase is usually best experienced at home, even if the hospital wards sounds more comforting. Here are some ways you can comfort yourself:

  1. Keep yourself distracted: Take a walk, watch movie or even listen to music. Just don’t exhaust yourself.
  2. Soak in a warm tub, or a warm shower: Ask your doctor for further guidelines if you want to take a shower.
  3. Take a nap: Even if it is an odd time, take a nap. You need to store up energy for the real labor.

If you think your water is broken, contact your doctor or midwife immediately to understand better. However, remember to take a note of when the water broke and how much fluid is released. Its best to remember that sometimes the water may not break at all, and the doctor might have to break it when you’re in labor.

Contact Your Doctor If You’re Experiencing Any Of These Symptoms

  1. Pregnant with twins or multiples
  2. Have other high risk conditions
  3. Have heavy vaginal bleeding
  4. No movement from
  5. Blurred vision
  6. Severe headaches
  7. Dizziness
  8. Abdominal pain
  9. Sudden weight gain
  10. Seizures

If you suspect anything, it is best to call your doctor or your midwife before heading straight to the hospital. If you cannot do it, ask a member from your support system to do so. The most important thing to remember is not to panic and practice breathing exercises.