Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reader Requests 2011 - Post 6

This week we are talking about when to go to the hospital if you are pregnant. Check out what our reader said....

I'm pregnant. Already had my son two years ago, so this second pregnancy should be completely predictable, right? WRONG!? Am I the only woman obnoxiously paranoid and unsure about when to go to the hospital? Please say no. I have no idea of when I should make the drive. Especially since Braxton Hicks are so much more prevalent and noticeable the second time around. I'm on the extreme-worry bandwagon as well because a) my husband is out of town during weekdays, and b) my hospital is 40 minutes away, and c) I was induced with my first (which I hear is supposed to make labor last all day..haha...yeah right) and he STILL came really quickly...just three hours after breaking my water. And now my doctor tells me this delivery will most likely be even faster. Yikes! We've got our home-teachers on speed dial, but that still doesn't make my deliveries slower or my hospital closer.

I know every woman and every pregnancy's different, so I can't really compare across the board, but what sort of indicators are "out there" that you pay attention to?

I'd appreciate your feedback. Thanks!

-Paranoid And Pregnant

Help her out! And don't be afraid to share your own experiences if it's helpful.


Tannie Datwyler said...

Dear Paranoid,

You are right, everyone's bodies are different. So the chance of my body's indicators being the same as yours are slim. But I can tell you that I'm in the same boat as you in that I labor very fast.

With my first baby I was dilated to a 10 in less than 3 hours after I went into labor.

With my second I was induced and start to finish was 7 hours.

With my third I was induced and I delivered 1 1/2 hours after the pit drip and just 45 minutes after my water broke.

If you haven't had too much false labor then I would go ahead and head to the hospital if your contractions are fairly regular after 1 hour. That should still give you time to get to your hospital.

If you've been plagued by FALSE labor (not Braxton Hicks Contractions) then I pity you and feel your pain! With my 3rd baby I had many times where I had an hour's worth of painful contractions that were consistent... but then they stopped. False labor will usually stop after 1 hour. Take a hot bath and that should also slow contractions down if it isn't for real. Again, if you are still experiencing regular contractions after 1 hour I'd go - especially since you deliver fast.

If your water breaks, high tail it to the hospital my friend!!

Lisa said...

The rule of thumb I was taught in my birthing class is the 3-2-1 rule.

3-2-1 means that you labor at home until your contractions are 3 minutes apart, lasting for 1 minute each for 2 hours.

My doctor told me to use the 4-1-1 rule. Which is contractions 4 minutes apart, lasting for 1 minute each for 1 hour.

Most important though is to listen to your body. Real labor contractions don't go away if you change activities. If contractions start you can go for a walk or take a bath. False labor will generally stop if you relax in the tub. Real labor does not.

These tips worked really well for me and my labors. I was able to deliver naturally with both of my babies. I never had a problem getting to the hospital on time.

Also, if you were induced last time and had a quick labor, that might not be the case if you go into labor on your own because you won't have pitocin to help speed things up.

Your body knows how to have a baby. Just relax and listen to it. You will know when it is time to go to the hospital.

Rebecca said...

I always tell my husband that with our next baby I'm camping out right in front of the hospital the last weeks of pregnancy because of how fast my last one went. My water broke at home and then BAM I was in labor. Like can't talk, move, or do anything labor. If it had happened 30 minutes later I don't know if we would've made it to the hospital. 30 minutes later my husband would've been on his way to work and a huge snow storm hit...freaks me out anytime I think about it!

If I were you I'd just make sure that there is always someone on-call that is close by that can take you to the hospital (and also someone to watch your child), and to go in as soon as you know your in labor...regardless if it's not to the point where most people would go in. And even if you're not sure I'd still go. It's not the end of the world if you go in and they send you back. It happens to SOOOO many people. Better safe then sorry, right?

I feel your pain and know I'm going to feel the same way with my next one, so you're definitely not alone. Good luck! :)

Megan said...

I understand the worry of not making it to the hospital on time. My first labor was just over 3 hours, my water broke and I immediately started having contractions less than 3 minutes apart. With my second labor it the total time was 2 hours and 16 minutes without my water breaking before I went to the hospital. I'm like Rebecca, next time I'm camping out at the hospital the last couple weeks and I live less than 5 minutes from the hospital. Like the others have said, listen to your body. If the contractions go away or lessen a ton if you change positions or do some activity, its more likely to be false labor. I had several episodes of painful false labor with my second, but when real contractions started I knew. You'll be able to tell if your are in real labor after a couple of contractions. Good luck!

Laura said...

While labor and delivery can certainly be a dramatic experience, I don't think it's quite the crisis situation that it is sometimes made out to be.

I like Lisa's 3-2-1 and 4-1-1 rules--it's nice to have something rather concrete to gauge by so you don't fly into a panic as soon as that first contraction hits. I've learned a "cycle of labor" that can be really helpful, too. When contractions start, follow these four steps. 1-Eat something, whether it be a snack or a meal is up to you. 2-Go for a walk. Get out of the house for a bit, get your body moving. It can be a good distraction, too. 3-Take a bath. Relax for a bit when you get back home. 4-Take a nap, or at least rest. Again, eat, walk, bath, nap.

This cycle serves a dual purpose. One, it can be good way to keep yourself occupied and, hopefully, calmer during contractions. Two, if you can get through the entire cycle and are still having regular, painful contractions, you can feel more confident in deciding to go to the hospital. If, however, you get through the entire cycle and are still uncertain of whether or not it's time to go, by all means, go through the four steps again.

I think the most important thing is to not let yourself be completely controlled by fear. Labor is hard, yes, and it hurts. But it doesn't have to be the nightmare that it is often portrayed as. Make a plan in the weeks before and be prepared to follow it. We don't need to be afraid of having our babies. :)