Signs of Labor: When to Go to the Hospital for your Labor & Birth and How to Avoid Going Too Soon

hey everyone I'm Sara LaVon and welcome

back to my youtube channel today I am so

excited to have finally gotten to the

video of when to go to the hospital for

your labor and birth I know this is a

super highly requested video there's

lots of youtubes out there about it I'm

gonna give you my criteria that I have

told thousands of patients and I have

found to work so that you can have a

little bit better information and know

exactly when it's time to go let's get



we switched up the environment today I

got a little bored with my plain white

background okay okay I think one thing

that can be very anxiety-provoking

especially for the partner and for the

pregnant woman is the question of when

to go to the hospital so frequently you

hear not to go to the hospital too early

but then of course everybody's worrying

about delivering in their car they've

seen the youtubes about people who have

delivered in their car so how do you

gauge when to go to the hospital and buy

hospital I mean hospital birth center

call your midwife whatever when is it

time to go in there's two criteria that

I give people for going to the hospital

that would be normal reasons to go to

the hospital I will do another video and

do warning signs to go to the hospital

but at this point we want to talk about

the normal the exciting the things you

can look forward to so the first thing I

tell people is obviously if your water

breaks it can be where like it looks

like you peed your pants or sometimes

it's just a trickle where you're like

myself a little in general when your

water breaks you can anticipate going to

the hospital now is it an emergency no

it's not an emergency now if your water

breaks and awesome there's just like

blood flowing out of you everywhere that

would be an emergency and that would be

something that I would say is to go very

quickly but if your water breaks

typically it's not an emergency pay

attention to when it happens and then

start moving your way to the hospital

what I really want to focus on today is

those contractions so when do you know

that it's time based on your

contractions we say that contractions

are the sure sign of labor so if

contractions are the sure sign of labor

they're your sign to let you know that

it's time to go to the hospital so what

are labor contractions versus pre-labor

contractions versus early labor

contractions I know it's complicated we

already talked about Braxton Hicks

contractions those are pre-labor

contractions they mean your body's

getting ready but it hasn't quite

figured it out yet those can happen for

weeks upon end typically they're not

super duper painful but those would

definitely not be a reason to go to the

hospital then when it's actually time

and you actually are in labor meaning

your cervix is changing when contract

are truly labor contractions you will

not be able to ignore them a lot of

times when you go to the doctor's office

they're gonna give you a ruler you're

gonna read online tips like 5 1 1 or 3 1

1 or 4 1 1 or whatever it is what does

that mean that means that your

contractions would be every 5 minutes so

that's the first number 5 minutes

lasting about 1 minute so 1 for at least

an hour which is the last one 3 1 1

would be the same thing contractions

every three minutes lasting for about a

minute for about an hour which is super

nice and helpful to help you remember

kind of a rule of thumb unfortunately a

lot of times if first-time moms come

into the hospital with contractions

every 5 minutes not understanding the

concept of what they're looking for we

end up sending them home potentially

multiple times and you want to avoid

that right you want to stay home and

then know and be confident that you're

going to the hospital at the right time

if you want to use one of those what I

would say is for women who've had babies

before that 5-1-1 would be a good marker

for women who have not had babies before

I would lean more towards the 3-1-1 just

because it takes a lot longer for a

first-time mom overall the rules are

great acronyms are great but ultimately

it's the concept of really understanding

what exactly that means so instead of 3

1 1 my rule of thumb is contractions

every 2 to 4 minutes just because very

infrequently are you gonna have somebody

that has a contraction every 3 minutes

and then 3 minutes later and then 3

minutes later and then 3 minutes later

that can be kind of confusing to me so

instead I give a range every 2 minutes

to 4 minutes so that could mean that you

look at the clock and right now I have a

contraction 2 minutes later I have a

contraction then 3 minutes later than 4

minutes later then

two minutes later so the range is about

2 to 4 minutes apart as far as the

length of the contractions goes honestly

I don't really care how long the

contraction is it can be anywhere from

30 seconds typically the shorter they

are the more early labor you're in so

you want them to be a little bit longer

more towards the minute mark but

sometimes you can have a contraction

that's a minute

and then the other time it's 45 seconds

and then another time it's a minute and

a half so that's where to me it's like

throw it out the window however long

they last is how long they last now if

they're abnormally long we're having

contractions for like five minutes

straight that would be abnormal and

something to maybe alert your doctor to

but in general I don't really care how

long they last they can last what they

last the other thing I want you to pay

attention to and what I would say is the

number one most important thing when

you're trying to figure out whether and

when to go to the hospital or not is how

she is acting I could have a contraction

every two minutes but if I like and be

contracting right now and be like yeah

it's like that's bad ouch

man that hurts that's not really labor

instead what you want to pay attention

to is that there would be no doing

anything else while she's having a

contraction she may not even be able to

really talk to you she might be

irritated by noise she may all of a

sudden start doing weird things like

crawling on the floor or leaning against

the wall or getting on all fours with

her booty in the air labor elicits those

kind of responses and so how is she

acting how are you acting are you able

to talk through it are you able to

distract yourself then those are not

strong enough contractions if it's

stopping you in your tracks and you're


then it might actually be labor now I

will say that everybody responds

differently to pain I once had a patient

that was sitting there and when she

having contractions she'd be like and

then she turned to me and she goes I

must push and I was like girl oh you


and sure enough her baby was like right

there so know that everybody responds

differently to pain but typically it's

going to be something that takes over so

the goal would be that the contractions

are regular that's the key word regular

in strength and frequency so the

strength of the contractions is the same

or stronger with every single

contraction so what that doesn't mean is

I have a contraction now where I'm like

and then the next contraction maybe I

don't even realize this happening or

whoa am I headed oh my god is breathing

too well that would be irregular in

strength so every contraction would be

that same strength where it's stopping

me and I'm having to breathe and cope

and it's like holy moly the world stops

I'm actually feel like I might be in

labor and then the next one would be

just as strong or stronger than the

previous one that would be considered

regular in strength contractions and

then regular in frequency so this we

already talked about but that they would

not peter out so over an hour to

two-hour amount of time your

contractions do not let up where they

are coming one after the other you're

like they're seriously there every two

to four to two three two to five minutes

flex and flow every single one has that

same strength and frequency as the

previous one I hope that makes sense if

you follow those rules very very likely

you will be actually an active labor why

do we want you to come into labor when

you're actually an active labor active

labor is distinguished by six

centimeters of dilation now you're not

gonna know that and unless the doctor

nurse and Midwife performs a vaginal

exam on you but you can know that your

contractions and your labor has kind of

established itself your uterus has

figured out exactly that pattern and

that rhythm

hence the pattern and the rhythm that

you're seeing in the way that your

contractions are coming and then we know

that after after active labor we expect

that your cervix will change regularly

after that prior to active labor is

considered early labor and early labor

is the time from zero to six centimeters

where your body is just figuring out

what to do we don't really care how long

it takes it could take anywhere from a

few hours to 24 hours maybe more we want

your body to have figured out those

contractions and establish that pattern

before you go to the hospital why is

that one you're going to labor a lot

better in the safety of your own


at home you can do whatever you want you

can eat you can drink you can flail

around naked you can moan you can shower

you can do whatever you want when you're

at home that kind of helps allow those

labour hormones to really figure

themselves out and get in the flow and

then when you go to the hospital your

body has already done that so then

you're less at risk for that getting

interrupted the other side note is that

the later that you're admitted to the

hospital the lesser chance of medical

interventions that would be otherwise

unnecessary which is like all another

series of videos and the less the chance

of a c-section so we are trying to avoid

a c-section by allowing your body to do

its own thing on its own without

interrupting it without without any

random Outsiders kind of poking

themselves in poking themselves in

without any kind of external factors

that could create an environment of fear

or being on guard or even just a new

environment it's kind of this like uh

what's going on you it takes a second to

figure it out when you're at home you're

able to just kind of let those labor

hormones flow however they want to so

what's my rule of thumb contractions

every two to four minutes or two to five

minutes for a second third fourth fifth

time mom lasting however long they last

don't really care how long they last

with every single contraction she's

stopping in her tracks she's having to

breathe she can't concentrate on

anything else and that the contractions

are regular in strength like that and

frequency for at least an hour to two

hours the other thing I would say for a

reason to go to the hospital would be is

if you are absolutely not coping with

your contractions you are suffering

through them and you really need some

sort of medication option like an

epidural or some IV medications to help

you to cope with your labor now that's

gonna be treated on a case-by-case basis

again that's a whole nother video but

what I will say is that that is another

reason why people come to the hospital

and sometimes are admitted earlier on in

their labor when they're not quite an

active labor yet because they're just

not coping with their labor I always

tell people that nothing is

worth your mental health and I really

mean that that for life but also for

labor and birth that there is such a

thing as birth trauma we want your birth

experience to be the best day of your

life you should look back on that day as

being like so happy that you want to

tell every person in the world that they

should have a baby

which really what happens in real life

is that people just tell people all the

time like oh my god like why would you

ever have a baby it's horrible like I

thought I was gonna die to me a lot of

those people that are saying some of

those things potentially maybe had a

little bit of a traumatic birth memory

pain is pain you can handle the pain but

there's a difference between pain and

then suffering like deep in your soul

suffering more to come on that one so my

three criteria are water breaks

contractions like I talked about and

then if you're not coping but instead

you're suffering and you need some help

with those contractions I hope that

helps you know when to go to the

hospital I hope that makes you feel more

confident about when to go to the

hospital and to feel okay with staying

home until you hit that criteria

obviously trust your instinct that if

you feel like there's something wrong

there might be something wrong better

safe than sorry

always and going to the hospital but

really ultimately you can trust your

body you can trust your baby that they

are working together to help this baby

come into the world in its own time

however long labor takes and that you'll

know when there's that shift in those

early labor contractions versus active

labor contractions and it's really time

to go in and get that help that you need

thank you so much for watching if you

have any comments questions concerns you

just want to talk to me then feel free

to comment below don't forget to

subscribe and then I will see you soon

bye guys hello I am ser LaVon no later

later what

Namie the contractions for helping you

remember how how your contractions this

is awful I'm not in labor so that might

be a little too much oxygen let me just

tell you today is the day no it's

probably not the day you're watching

this oh my god just like if you stub

your toe right if you stub your toe

you're like ah oh my god see you later