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When to go to hospital

(24 Posts)
ToffeeForEveryone Wed 17-Feb-16 09:14:02

I'm 39 + 3 today, no obvious signs of baby arriving imminently but thinking about the logistics of going to hospital / getting DH back from work when thinks kick off.

I have had some very conflicting advice about timings, this is DC1 and I am not sure how long the initial stages of labour are likely to take - although know everyone is different, and this is probably a "how long is a piece of string" sort of question.

Basically, midwife at antenatal classes said to go to hospital when in established labour, 4 contractions in 10 minutes. This seems like quite a lot to me, and I am worried that things could escalate very quickly and about whether I will actually be able to get myself to the car / walk through hospital at that point. I checked with another midwife at my next appointment who confirmed that it is right, don't go in until 4 contractions in 10 minutes - although if I was in a lot of pain to go to hospital earlier, but be aware they might just send me home.

Hospital is only about 15 minutes away, but my DSis / DM / Aunty / neighbour's cat have all looked aghast at this and told me that at that point I will be wanting to push and I could well end up having baby in the car park confused.

DH was also at the antenatal class and heard midwife's advice. He has a colleague whose wife (who is herself a midwife) just gave birth, and waited until her contractions were 5 minutes apart to ask her husband to come home from work. Apparently when they got to the hospital they had to wait around in a waiting area (i.e. not a ward) for about 4 hours before they were even let in.

DH has just started a new job so will have limited time to take off once baby is here. I don't want him to have to waste paternity leave hanging about but at the same time, it will take him an hour to get home and I don't want to be in labour on my own. Also, I am dependant on him to get me to hospital.

So, my questions:

1) How soon will your DH or birth partner come home to be with you after first signs / contractions start?

2) At what point do you go to the hospital?

maybebabybee Wed 17-Feb-16 09:17:35

No advice OP but place marking as 37+1 and wondering the same thing! We live in London and there is no parking at the hospital so we have to take a taxi...really don't want to pay for a taxi there and then get sent home again if too early. But I can't see myself coping with a car journey when I'm in loads of pain!!

whifflesqueak Wed 17-Feb-16 09:21:09

I'd follow your midwife's advice, though of course you'll have the phone number for maternity admissions in your notes so you can always call them for guidance when things start kicking off.

everyone is different of course, but I started contractions at midnight, went to hospital at 9am and had baby at 5pm. there was plenty of time to collect my thoughts!

PipersOrange Wed 17-Feb-16 09:23:41

In the nicest way, you're going to be in a lot more pain in later than the pain you're in being driven to the hospital. Adrenalin takes over, so you're able to cope with a lot more than you think, and it is much nicer labouring at home than in a waiting room at the hospital when you're scared. Is there no one else that can take you to the hospital as your DH comes home from work? My MIL drove me as my DP was coming back, and it was another 10 hours after that that I gave birth!

Dixiechick17 Wed 17-Feb-16 09:24:24

Everyone is different as you said. My contractions were four in ten minutes from the first contraction. I went to the hospital which was fifteen minutes away and was left contracting im reception for an hour before I was finally taken up the the birthing unit. They were really busy, DD arrived within 3 hours of getting on the until, just over five hours after my first contraction. People say the first can have a long latent phase but for me it was all pretty quick. They said on the phone that I'd probably be sent home but I knew that I needed to go.

Dixiechick17 Wed 17-Feb-16 09:25:27

Apologies for the spelling errors

maybebabybee Wed 17-Feb-16 09:25:40

Pipers I just hate being in the car anyway, I get severe motion sickness made worse by even mild period pain, so just know I'm going to be throwing up everywhere.

originalusernamefail Wed 17-Feb-16 09:27:05

It's not what you want to hear OP but everyone is different and nobody knows. I had 24 hours plus of 3-4 contractions in 10 mins for both my labours, my friend went from ooo was that a contraction?- birth in 30 mins. I would keep in mind the midwives advice but have your husband on standby once your contractions are regular.

FourForYouGlenCoco Wed 17-Feb-16 09:30:08

I would wait til labour is definitely established to get your DH home. You might be one of the lucky ones who has super-quick, easy labours but it's more likely that you'll have plenty of notice between labour ramping up and baby actually arriving. Obviously everyone is completely different but my experience was: first contraction at 12.30am, told DH when he woke up for work at 7am that he wouldn't be going anywhere! Pain ramped up& DH rang midwives at 3ish, they arrived about half past (planned HB), baby arrived at 5.45pm. Full-on, active labour was v quick in the end.
I wouldn't get too hung up on the '4 in 10' thing - not all labours follow a perfectly prescribed pattern, and you might be contracting nonstop and nowhere near giving birth; equally, you might be contracting 3 in 10 and the head could be practically out! Plus everyone has different pain thresholds, methods of coping, etc. IMO you should go in when you feel you need to go in. Provided you're contracting regularly, go in when you feel like you're not coping at home any more.
And don't worry, birth isn't like on the telly! Even if you turn up at the pushing stage, it's very unlikely you'll end up delivering in the car park - first babies generally have a fair bit of pushing time. And again, they will prob work on a priority basis - unless they're scarily understaffed, you won't be left to give birth in a waiting room! If you turn up and baby is imminent, they'll have you straight into delivery suite.
You're right that it's hard to put any certainty on any of it, or say 'this is how it will definitely be', as everyone is completely different. But I'm sure you'll be fine! Good luck!

NotWithoutMyMerkin Wed 17-Feb-16 09:35:09

We were told to wait for 3 contractions in 10 mins and each contraction lasting a minute

Unfortunately from my very first contraction mine were only 40 seconds apart - but lasting 40 seconds or so. I was putting off ringing the hospital until they got to lasting a minute but eventually (after 4 hours) I couldn't carry on at home and my husband rang and they said to go in. Turns out I was 7cm

Jibberjabberjooo Wed 17-Feb-16 09:42:19

3 in ten minutes is what I was told.

It's unlikely that baby will be coming immediately, but of course it can happen. I went to hospital contracting that often and my first didn't arrive until 12 hours later and my second didn't arrive until two days later!

You just can't tell. If you go in too early you can be sent home again by the midwives.

maskapony Wed 17-Feb-16 09:54:47

I was told to wait until contractions were coming every four/five minutes and lasting for at least one minute each time. My contractions started off every six minutes lasting a minute each time so I rang the mw straight anyway for reassurance. They can tell a lot just by speaking to you. I went in after six hours and was only 3cm dilated so was sent home, but another 3 hours later I was 9cm.

DH stayed with me the whole time - personally I wouldn't have wanted to be alone for any of the early stage.

ToffeeForEveryone Wed 17-Feb-16 10:04:42

Thanks everyone for the replies smile I know there's no real way to predict how things will progress, I suppose I just wanted an idea of how you know when it's time to go in. Expect pain has a lot to do with that!

My main worry is being home along and things suddenly ramping up. Family are all 100s of miles away unfortunately, so I will be in the flat alone unless DH is there. In some ways I wouldn't mind being at the hospital on my own even if things take ages, it's the worry of being stuck at home and not being able to get in if I needed to quickly.

hownottofuckup Wed 17-Feb-16 10:23:46

Follow your instincts and don't be put off! I had one labour with a long latent phase, waited till everyone was up at 8 to take DC over to DP's then made the half hour journey to hospital. They didn't think I was in labour as I didn't seem in enough pain but were very kind and examined me, first MW then got a second MW to double check, I was 5cm and taken straight to delivery. Baby didn't arrive until 6pm.
I had a back to back, second pregnancy but first labour. Received awful care and wish I'd been better at standing up for myself. Unfortunately, sometimes, you have to.
I also had a labour that went from nothing to baby in less then 3 hours, only just made it to the hospital on time. So very glad I went when I did, I just knew the contractions were coming too quick and too painfully.
So, listen to your body, follow your instincts, have DH on hand as soon as you want him there, contractions don't always follow the prescribed pattern.
And practice your breathing! The breathing is the only thing that helped on a half hour car journey in active labour. Like someone mentioned up thread about adrenaline kicking in, you kind of go into the 'zone'.

Liveinthepresent Wed 17-Feb-16 10:36:50

As all the previous replies show and say - it really is impossible to predict. But try not too worry as its not in your control.
I think an average first time labour is supposedly 12 hours - so plenty of time to make decisions before it cranks up in theory. Though of course there can be wild extremes!
Bear in mind it is also quite likely to start in the evening / overnight so you may not have to even make this decision.
You will absolutely be in the zone and will find instincts kick in.
My first I started contracting in the early hours and I was happy at home until about 12 - when I arrived I was 5cm and only took a few until it was time to push.
DH said he was stressed driving me but I was totally oblivious. 20 minute journey. The worst bit was contractions in the lift with an audience !

The worst that would happen if you left it too late for the journey in is that you would have to call 999 and an ambulance can bring you gas and air and get you in.

This happened to me and a few other people I know with second births ( can be much quicker !)
I actually ended up with an unexpected home birth but actually that was totally amazing and not the least bit scary (DH was with me !).
I don't say that make you even more worried just that whatever happens happens!
Good luck ! Brings back amazing memories of the two best days of my life !

Liveinthepresent Wed 17-Feb-16 10:38:07

Sorry for typos !

m33r Wed 17-Feb-16 10:38:47

I went in not in a lot of pain but they wanted to check my eaters had gone and that I hadn't just wet myself. Got there at 4.20pm and was 2cm so they told me to go home. I said I would rather stay so they put me in a holding ward. By the time I got to holding ward I asked to be reexamine and they said it was too soon I was fine but I was determined. It was 6.15pm ish. Had a look and I was 9cm and involuntary pushing. I was rushed to labour ward and LB was in my arms at 6.55pm. It was my first! Everyone is different! Good luck xx

clarabellski Wed 17-Feb-16 10:39:05

Another thing, not sure if it applies where you are, but the midwifes here are really keen for you to call them before making the journey to the hospital. They say they can often tell from the sound of your voice during conversation what kind of state you are in and whether you should be in hospital or at home.

SweepTheHalls Wed 17-Feb-16 10:40:16

Rather than numbers I went with when I felt I couldn't cope at home anymore...... Each labour then had about another 4 hours to go. Good luck.

FellOutOfBedTwice Wed 17-Feb-16 10:54:36

I had a "fast" first labour and it was still 10 hours from when I went to the hospital. I was contracting every 8 mins at 9pm and they didn't have space for me so I was sent across the road to the Burger King to eat something and "relax". I came back at 10.30 as pain had ramped up and contractions were 5-6 mins apart and when they checked I was 7cm. They admitted me finally about 11 and DD born at 7am, pushing began at 6.15am. So there was still a 7 hour gap between the time you're talking about and the urge to push. And like I say, this was "fast".

Sleepingbunnies Wed 17-Feb-16 10:56:16

Well my first labour was 28 hours so 4 contractions but second was 4 hours so impossible to tell!

Junosmum Wed 17-Feb-16 11:18:44

I went to the hospital when I had 3 in 10 and they wanted to send me home- I just walked around the hospital and went for a coffee as I couldn't stomach another trip in the car whilst contracting. I went from no contractions to 3 in 10 in about 4 hours but it was still 17hours after that that baby arrived.

Bare in mind that most labours start in the night.

AlaskaWaves Wed 17-Feb-16 11:25:59

I've just been reading through the advice - I've got a while to go yet but it will take DH an hour or more to get home if he is at work (depending on where he is working that day) and then it's at least a 45 min journey to the hospital.
A friend recently had DD2, and was about 4 hours from start to baby. She laughs about it now, but there was a bike race on for part of their journey to hospital, so very slow traffic, then there was the Christmas market in the town where the hospital is. They got into town and the traffic was at a standstill! Her DP ended up on the phone to the police asking for an escort as nothing was budging! Luckily they made it in time, but it was close!

Tfoot75 Wed 17-Feb-16 19:34:31

It often kicks off overnight so it might not arise!

I think it's every 3-4 mins but have also heard when you can't talk through a contraction (eg on phone to maternity unit). But once it starts you'll probably have a better idea - eg if they start at 8 mins apart and go on like that for several hours then probably isn't going to suddenly progress (but still could!) you will just have to see how it plays out. If you're anxious they won't turn you away, but equally you might be more comfortable at home for the first bit. I would want my DH there anyway though, so if I was sure it was labour then would get him home!

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