When to Come to the Hospital for Delivery

Sometimes women and families don’t know when to call. Or you may have trouble deciding if what you’re feeling is really labor. The following guidelines may help you.

Call your provider or labor and delivery if you

  • Are having regular contractions that are five minutes apart for one hour.
  • Are having contractions that are five to 10 minutes apart for one hour, if it’s not your first baby.
  • Are uncomfortable and unable to talk or walk through contractions.
  • Feel contractions in your lower back that move to the front, with a hardening belly.
  • Have your water break or you are leaking fluids (note the time it happened, how much, and if there is any color or odor to the fluid).
  • Have pinkish or bloody vaginal discharge.
  • Are resting or lying down and it  doesn’t slow your contractions, and walking tends to make them stronger.

If you are having signs of labor, please call Labor and Delivery, so that they can prepare for your arrival. When you come to the hospital, you will be taken to a room, and a nurse will ask you some questions about your health history, pregnancy and prenatal care.

When YOU SHOULD go to the hospital

  • Contractions have been regular, steady and increasing.
  • Contractions are five minutes apart for one to two hours.
  • Contractions are uncomfortable or you are unable to talk through them.


  • Your doctor or midwife instructs you to come in.
  • Your baby is moving less than usual.
  • You have vaginal bleeding.
  • Your instinct tells you to go to the hospital.

When in doubt

Please contact your childbirth provider or the doctor on call.

If you are concerned about your health or the health of your baby, please consult your doctor or midwife right away.