When should I go to hospital? 

Midwife Tracey Owen describes the various signs of labour that mean you should be heading to hospital.

Find out more about when you should go to hospital

Transcript of When should I go to hospital?

When should I go to hospital?


Tracey: If it’s your first baby, labour is a bit of an unknown entity to you and it’s all a bit scary. At the end of the day, the midwives are there 24 seven to answer your questions so just give them a ring. Everybody’s expectations are different; everybody’s pain thresholds are totally different. If you’re sitting at home and you’re talking all the way through, it’s not a contraction. If you are at home and you can’t concentrate on anything else and you want to bite the worktops, it’s probably a contraction.


The first couple of twinges are a bit weird and it is going to take a little while to get used to them. But really, the longer you ignore them the better. Carry on life, make your dinner, watch a bit of TV, soak in the bath and then think about ‘hang on a minute. Are they getting into a regular pattern?’


There are a couple of times when it is important for you to call the hospital: if your waters break, if you’re bleeding like a period, if you are worried about your baby’s movements since you’ve been having tightenings and if your tightenings have got themselves into a nice regular pattern – about one every five minutes lasting a minimum of 60 seconds.


Of course baby number two sometimes comes a bit quicker, so you need to be a bit more aware of what your body’s doing. You’ll know: you’ve been in labour before. You’ll know it’s uncomfortable and you know you’re baby is coming so give them a call a little bit earlier.


Around about 36 weeks you’d have probably packed your bag. And re-packed it. And packed again. Leave it by the front door so it’s ready for a quick exit. But remember you need your phone, your notes, your birth plan and your partner.


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