What to Expect When Getting to the Labour Ward
One of the most intimidating times of labour is getting to the hospital. The drive can be stressful as you might be experiencing contractions, your nerves will be heightened because ‘it's happening’ and also the stress of transferring from the relative safety of your home to the very clinical environment can be frightening. Knowing what you might expect once you arrive can help make you feel more confident and as I always say knowledge is power.
Preparation is key, so it’s a great idea when you are close to your estimated due date, it’s a great idea to have your bag packed and your maternity notes ready, at the front door. It’s a good idea to have a small labour bag that you can carry and then a bibber postnatal bag that your partner can carry in when needed. Also, do a practice drive to the hospital to pick out the best route. It means on the day, it's less stressful. One of the best ways to prepare for labour is to do a good antenatal class and that will give you more information about when the best time to go to the hospital is.
If you have any bleeding, feel unwell, have visual disturbance or are worried about the baby's movements, then head straight in to be assessed. If you think you are in labour and if you think the time is right, phone the hospital first (not just drive straight in). This has two benefits; the midwife can triage you and advise if it’s the right time for you to come in and secondly they can be ready for you when you do come in.