Know When to Go

Pregnant woman and partner getting into a car

Knowing when to go to the hospital reminds me a bit of the Goldilocks story.

If you go too early, you risk being sent back home or admitted and having more interventions.

If you go too late, you risk birthing on the side or the road or at least having a really difficult drive.

So when is just right? How do you find that sweet spot for you and your situation?

The 5-1-1

A good rule of thumb for most situations is 5-1-1:

  • Contractions that are 5 minutes apart from the start of one to the start of another.
  • Contractions that last 1 minute from start to end.
  • The contraction pattern has been like that for an hour.
Graphic illustrating the 511 rule

Other Considerations

The 5-1-1 Rule of Thumb assumes a couple things that may not be true for you. You’ll need to adjust to go sooner or later if:

  • You live farther from the hospital and about 20-30 minutes. If you live a great distance from the hospital, you might consider coming closer and staying in a hotel or with a friend closer to the hospital until you’re at 5-1-1.
  • There is a big storm or event in your area that might mean it takes longer to get there.
  • Your water breaks and your care provider advises you to come in when that happens.
  • You have a condition that means you need treatment or monitoring earlier. For example, if you need antibiotics for GBS.