As i've said before; I am a worrier. A serious worrier. How will we get the hospital? Will the car break down as i'm in labour meaning that i'll end up birthing in the car park outside our apartment? Will my hospital bag be ready or will I end up throwing my stuff in an Asda carrier bag? Will Mr C somehow manage to get stuck at work; will his phone battery have died and will it be impossible to get in touch with him so he'll miss the birth? You read the stories; they are a weekly occurance in 'Take A Break' magazine. Will I be claiming my £50 telling the world of my son's arrival in 6.3 seconds down the toilet!?
All these questions are constantly whirring around my head and I feel that the only thing that will ease this tension is knowledge. As they say, knowledge is power and all that.
So, when is the time? When do you call the midwife? I came across this really interesting article that I will most definitely be saving until 'D Day' eventually arrives. In fact, I may stick it to the fridge door just so i'm prepared for all eventualities! :)
If you think you’re in labour, the best thing to do is stay at home as long as you can.
There is always a midwife on duty at the labour ward, so you can ring at any time to talk things through. If your waters break you may be advised to go in.
Early labour tipsIf you are coping well at home, keep reasonably busy and labour will pass more quickly:
- If it’s the middle of the night, rest!
- If it’s daytime, keep active, but don’t exhaust yourself.
- Eat and drink.
- Empty your bladder regularly.
- Check that you’ve got everything ready.
If you are having a home birth, team midwifery or one-to-one midwife care, phone your midwife when you think you are in labour. Together you can decide when she should come.
Labour worriesCall your midwife or doctor if you have:
- Bleeding like a period. This would be heavier than a ‘show,’ which may be lightly bloodstained. Heavy bleeding is a cause for concern.
- Constant abdominal pain. Contractions are different as they come and go. Constant pain needs checking.
- Sudden severe headaches or vision disturbances as this could be a sign of dangerously high blood pressure.
- Reason to think the baby has not moved recently or the movements are much less than usual.
- Any reason you think you might be in labour – your midwife will have spoken to plenty of women in labour and will be able to tell a great deal from how you sound and what you describe to her.
At the hospitalBefore you go to hospital, ring the labour ward and tell them what has been happening to you. The midwife may suggest you stay at home longer or ask you to come to the hospital straight away.
Once there, you might be admitted first to an assessment unit. Your midwife will check when your contractions began and how often they are coming.
She will check your notes, take a urine sample and your blood pressure. She will then check the position of your baby by feeling your tummy and may, with your permission, do an internal examination to see how much the cervix has opened.
She will listen to the baby’s heartbeat using a hand-held monitor. If anything needs double-checking, your midwife may ask a doctor to examine you as well.
The midwife or doctor can confirm from this assessment how far on in labour you are and will offer to admit you to the labour ward, an antenatal ward, or suggest you go home for a while.