Understand the stages of labour and when to come to the hospital.

During the early stages of labour, the best place for you is in the comfort of your own home. Watch this video about labour and birth.

Time your contractions

If your contractions become regular, time them to see a pattern. Count the minutes from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next. This will tell you how close together your contractions are. It is also helpful to time how long each contraction lasts.

Ways to help you stay comfortable

Change positions often: walk, stand or sit. See more comfort positions.

  • Rest or nap
  • Take a warm shower or bath
  • Read, watch TV or listen to music
  • Sit in a rocking chair
  • Use a hot water bottle on the back
  • Eat a light, easily digested snack
  • Drink plenty of fluids

Know about the differences between pre-labour and true labour.

When should I come to the hospital to deliver?

  • When your contractions are regular and painful, lasting 30 to 60 seconds, and happen at five minute intervals.
  • If your water breaks – you may feel a trickle or a sudden gush. Put on a sanitary pad as your nurse will want to know how much fluid there is and the colour.
  • If you are unsure and have concerns.
  • Please call the maternity unit to let us know you are coming.

During early labour, the most comfortable place is to stay at home. Knowing exactly when to come to the hospital is never easy. Call the maternity unit and a nurse can advise whether coming in is the best plan for you.

Seek medical attention immediately if:

  • You are less than 37 weeks pregnant and you experience contractions every 10 minutes or less.
  • You feel constant abdominal pain that does not go away.
  • Your water sac is broken and you develop a fever.
  • The fluid from your water sac is coloured yellow, green or red.
  • You have bright red bleeding from your vagina.
  • Your baby’s movements have slowed down (less than six movements in a two-hour period).