Obstetrics >> Delivery: Labor Instructions

Labor Instructions

As you approach the 36th week of pregnancy, you will begin to have contractions on a daily basis. Contractions usually occur 2-6 times an hour in the early morning hours until you hydrate and feed yourself. Fewer contractions are generally noticed through the daytime hours, but you will experience more contractions from 6pm to midnight. These contractions are getting the cervix ready for labor.

During early labor you should walk, drink water and stay cool (indoors in the summer). You may like a hot shower, too.

We want you to go to the hospital when:

Your contractions are every 5 minutes or less AND
Your contractions prevent you from walking or talking AND
Your contractions have been like this for more than an hour.

Contractions of labor are not just crampy, but will hurt all the way to the top of the uterus. Labor will often begin with mild cramping in the lower abdomen and progress to pain around the middle of the uterus and then at the top.

Your bag of water breaks.

If your water breaks you will have a gush of water running down your legs. Water will continue to leak in the coming hours.

You do not have to rush to the hospital, but please arrive within 6 hours. (If your culture was positive for GBS, please arrive within 2 hours.)

Sometimes the bag of water will only “leak”, meaning you may just have a steady trickle. Put on a pad. If you think that the “leaking” is your bag of water, you should get checked at the hospital.

Your bleeding is similar to having a period.

If you are bleeding like a period, please go to the hospital right away.

You may have some spotting, bloody mucus and an increase in discharge from the vagina in the last weeks of pregnancy, particularly after a cervical exam, exercise or sex. This type of bleeding and discharge is normal and common and does not mean you are in labor.

Your baby is not moving.

The baby will become crowded in the uterus at the end of the pregnancy and run out of room to stretch the limbs out and flip over, but the baby will still wiggle and shrug and stretch. The baby will move when you are contracting also.

If the baby has not moved in the past two hours and you cannot get the baby to move 6 times in the next hour by drinking and lying down on your side, then you should go to the hospital to get the baby checked.

There is no need to call the office or hospital to tell us you are coming. There is a physician on call to take care of you.

Back to Top...Return to the top of page

  OB Quick-Links
Your Delivery:
After Your Delivery:
Just for Fun:

Back to Top of Page