Make sure you’ve pre-registered at your hospital and packed your bag before you reach this point! It will take a lot of stress off of you the day-of.
If you’ve planned a natural birth, you’ll most likely go into labor on your own. If you’re having repetitive contractions that aren’t stopping or slowing down, that’s when you should call your OB. They will be able to tell you when it’s time to head to the hospital. This is a good idea because if you go too early, you may be sent home.
At the Hospital
Once you get to the hospital go straight to Labor and Delivery, where a nurse will take you into a triage room. Here you’ll be hooked up to a fetal monitor to check your baby’s heart rate and to measure your contractions. If your water has broken, they’ll check to make sure it’s amniotic fluid and they’ll check your cervix to see if you’ve dilated or effaced.
The Delivery Room
You’ll change into a hospital gown and you’ll meet your Labor and Delivery nurse—they’ll be with you through the entire process. What happens next is pretty much up to you!
If you’re having a natural birth, or want to wait on an epidural, they may have you walk around or take a shower or bath to deal with the pain. While you’re waiting for things to progress, your nurse will periodically check your baby’s heart rate as well as your contractions.
If you want an epidural, know that it may take a little while. Most likely you’ll have to wait 30 to 45 minutes from the time you request one, to the moment you’re actually pain-free. There’s no specific time that you need to request an epidural, but keep the wait time in mind. Once you’ve gotten your epidural, you’ll be constantly monitored from your bed and be given a catheter.
Depending on a lot of little factors, you may see your doctor after you check in, or you may not see them until it’s time to push. Your contractions will become more painful and grow closer together, and you’ll feel the urge to push. Hit the call button or have your partner find your nurse or doctor and do not start pushing yet. If you aren’t fully dilated yet, you could hurt yourself.
You could have your baby after five pushes, or after 35. Every woman and every baby is different—just listen to your doctor. He or she will tell you how hard to push and when to take breaks.
After the Birth
After you’ve successfully delivered your baby, they’ll continue to monitor the two of you for a few hours to make sure you’re both transitioning nicely. And just like that, you’re a mom!
If you have more questions about what to expect, contact Regional Medical Center.