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When should I go to the hospital to have my baby?

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Updated May 16, 2014

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When you go to the hospital can have a huge effect on how you give birth.

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Question: When should I go to the hospital to have my baby?
Answer: The big question in the mind of every pregnant woman is when to go to the hospital to give birth to her baby. Towards the end of pregnancy you may have many contractions that may lead you to believe that you may be in labor. Here are some tried and true ways to decide if it's really labor and if you're ready to go to the hospital for labor and delivery.

  • Ask your doctor or midwife when they would like you to come to the hospital. They may have special rules for you because of your medical history or for some other reason.

  • Don't go into the hospital too early. You are usually more comfortable in early labor in your own home or environment. Going to the hospital too early has been linked to an increase in interventions.

  • If you aren't given a specific time to go into the hospital, use the 411 method: Contractions four (4) minutes apart, lasting one (1) minute, for at least one (1) hour.

  • Your practitioner may tell you to stay home a bit longer if you are planning on an unmedicated birth, usually because of the comforts of your own home.

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