If you’re a first time mom, you might be wondering when is it time to go to the hospital. You don’t want to hurry your way to the delivery room only to be turned away because of false labor. Most of the hospitals will not admit expecting mothers when they are not yet in an active labor phase.
To be sure, here are the guidelines that Sheri Bayles, a renowned childbirth authority and an award-winning Lamaze instructor, gave to mothers. Note that there are no sequence for the actual signs of labor. You could or could not experience all the three signs.
1. Loss of Mucus Plug
The mucus plug is that white part in between the uneffaced cervix. It contains a variety of antimicrobial agents that protects uterus from bacteria. When you lose your mucus plug, you will notice a white sticky substance on your underwear. It commonly occurs after a woman urinated. However, you may or you may not notice it dropped from you when you start dilating.
A search in Google image will give you photos such as these:
After you lose the mucus plug, it could be days or few weeks before the next actual sign of labor occur. By itself, it’s not yet the time to call your doctor or rush to the hospital.
2. When the water bag breaks
When a stream of fluid gushed down on your legs, means your water bag has broken. Sometimes the flow of fluid is not in the form of a gush but just small trickles that could be mistaken as urine. Be aware of that. Inside the water bag is an amniotic fluid that protects the fetus.
There are three important things you should do in case your water bag breaks. Sheri Bayles has emphasized the six words: Sit down. Note time. Call doctor
a. Sit Down
There are some women who have floating babies up to the very last second of their pregnancy. When women stayed on their feet while the water is gushing out from them, a prolapsing of the chord might happen.
In the prolapsing of the chord, the chord slips down in front of the baby’s head, thus blocking the opening of the cervix. When that occurs, an Emegerncy CS should be called.
It’s all right to walk around the house, but walking for miles might trigger the prolapsing of the chord.
b. Note Time
The risk of infection of the mother and baby greatly increases after 24 hours from the time the water bag breaks. This is why most doctors want the baby delivered within that 24 hours. Others will go up to 36 and possibly 48.
Every attending medical care will be asking you what time did your water bag break. It will be the most common question. These medical staff would want to know to ensure safety of the mother and baby.
c. Call doctor
The first thing your doctor will ask you is what time your water broke and what is the color of the fluid.
There are two possible colors of the fluid, clear and greenish. Clear fluid indicates that its normal while a greenish fluid indicates the presence of meconium. Meconium means that your baby has pooped inside your tummy.
The biggest concern when the baby has bowel movement is whether they will swallow it and what has caused it.
There are three causes why the baby pooped inside your tummy.
1. The baby has passed its due date
2. The baby is breeched upside down
3. The baby has fetal distress. This is the most important one as it means the baby’s heartbeat is going down.
3. Early Labor Contraction (5 minutes interval from start to start)
Statistically, most women will begin labor on contractions alone. As in the case of breaking of water bag, it usually happens when there is a barometric pressure difference between outside and inside your home. Example is when a storm is coming.
The second is during flights. That is why, women who are on their 32nd week of pregnancy are discouraged to travel via airplane. This due to the change in pressure as the plane height escalates.
If you’re having contractions alone, wait until they’re five minutes apart, from start to start before you call your doctor. That means you measure your contractions from point A to point B every five minutes for one entire hour.
That gives you 12 contractions in an hour before you pick up the phone. Now most women will react to this, “Ah no, I’m not gonna wait that long. If I’ll wait that long, I’m no gonna make it on the hospital.” Most doulas will tell you, that you will make it on time if not earlier on time. As for my case, my early labor contraction started at 2am and we went to the hospital at around 6am. I delivered my baby at 6:30pm.
According to Sheri Bayles, the most telling sign that you are having an active labor is when you can’t talk anymore during contraction because of unbearable pain.