When You Arrive At The Hospital, What Can You Expect?
What can you expect when you go into labor and arrive at the hospital where you are going to give birth to your baby?
When you first arrive at the hospital you will be evaluated for signs of labor. Don’t be surprised if you are sent home. The staff at the hospital will evaluate you and then determine if you are actually in labor, or if it is a false labor. If you are in labor they will determine how far along you are and how far your contractions are apart before either sending you home of admitting you to the delivery ward.
In the hospital
You will initially be asked a series of questions such as:
- Have your membranes ruptured? If so at what time?
- Are you bleeding?
- Are you having contractions or Braxton Hicks? If so, how often do they occur?
- When and what did you eat last?
- Do you have any medical problems?
- Have you experienced any pregnancy complications?
Your initial exam
A pelvic exam will be performed to determine at what stage of labor you are in, how far you have already dilated etc. They will also do vital signs of the baby, such as heart rate etc.
This initial exam is done by one of the nurses and not your doctor. They may also take a brief pregnancy history, vital signs, such as blood pressure, pulse and temperature.
Once you are admitted
Once the initial exam is completed and the nurses are happy that you are not experiencing a false labor, you will then be admitted into the hospital. At this stage you may receive an enema, or an IV line may be started. You may also be asked if you will be wanting an Epidural so that the necessary arrangements can be made for the anesthetist to arrive and administer the Epidural.
Once you are settled into your room you and your partner will more than likely be left alone with nurses who will come in at regular intervals to take tests, monitor any IVs or to do internal examinations. Your doctor will be kept informed at all times during your labor, so although you may not see him/her, he/she will know what is happening and how your labor is developing.
It is important to keep your options open and to be informed on the different methods of delivery and pain relief during labor. Speak to you doctor about 2 months before your due date and discuss all your concerns and questions.
Just as every pregnancy is different, so is every delivery, some labors last 20 hours, some only 3. Some women have difficulties and others don’t. Be sure that you are aware of all the options that are available to you.