Your pregnancy is finally coming to an end. Your hospital bag is packed, your phone list is ready, and your nursery is decked out and ready for your family's newest member. But even though you may be buzzing with excitement to meet your new baby, you may be wondering if your labor will be anything like what you've been reading in the mountain of parenting books you have stacked at your bedside. You may even have a little anxiety about some of things that happen before you get admitted to the hospital for labor.
By this point, you're probably ready to get the whole labor and delivery process over with so you can finally enjoy your baby and see your toes again. If you're experiencing strong contractions every four to five minutes for at least an hour, you should call your doctor or midwife, as Parents notedt. But if this is your first pregnancy, it could all take a lot longer than what you see in the movies.
What you may think is the moment of truth, may just be the early stages of labor. When you arrive at the hospital, nurses will check your cervix, monitor your contractions to see determine whether or not you are in active labor. If you have not progressed enough, you may even be sent back home to wait it out for a while. Once it has been determined that your labor is underway, you'll be admitted into the hospital, where you'll stay until your little one arrives. But before that can happen, here are five things you must do before entering the birthing suite.
1. You Fill Out Paperwork
Get your pens ready. According to Baby Center, you will need to fill out the necessary paperwork to register at the hospital. Unless you're lucky enough to give birth at a hospital that allows you to register ahead of time.
2. You Change Into The Gown
Get ready to get glam. You will asked to change into that infamous hospital gown to get ready for a series of tests. Hopefully, it won't be long before you will be posing for photos with your new arrival.
3. Your Vitals Will Be Checked
Once you are checked in, your vital signs will be assessed. According to the Sutter Health Network, a nurse will check your blood pressure and temperature. You will also be asked to give a blood and urine sample, which should be easy for you at this point in your pregnancy.
4. Your Contractions Will Be Measured
Once you've been checked out, it's time to make sure baby is O. The Bump noted that a nurse will check baby's heart rate and measure your contractions to determine whether or not you are actually in labor. According to the American Pregnancy Association, during active labor, your contractions will last between 45 to 60 seconds and occur every three to five minutes.
5. Your Cervix Will Be Checked
You're probably be tired of being poked and prodded down there, but before you can be admitted to the hospital, you will have to endure another check of your cervix. As Parents mentioned, you will have a vaginal exam to determine whether your cervix is dilated enough. Your cervix will need to have opened at least four centimeters in order for you to be considered in active labor and admitted to the hospital.