When should I go to the hospital?

Hi, I'm 30 weeks pregnant. I know it's still some time off yet but starting to think more about labour. I do not live in the UK anymore, and sadly do not have a midwife care team to speak to. The hospital I'll be giving birth at is an hour and a half away. I'm keen to labour at home as long as possible as I know I'll be much more comfortable in my own environment, so my question is, when in labour should I be leaving to get to the hospital? Would the normal when contractions are regularly 4-5 mins apart and lasting 45 seconds apply even for a longer car journey? Thanks...

ps. This is my first pregnancy

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3 Replies

  • If you were closer to a hospital I'd say don't go until they are 2-3 mins apart. I left it until then and arrived at the hospital (a 15 minute drive away) 9cm dilated and ready to go to the birthing suite. As you live so far away from a hospital I'm say head off when the contractions are 5 mins apart and lasting 50 seconds. That was the rule they gave us in the US, which is where I had my first baby, where some people also lived a fair distance from their hospital. Next time I see my midwife, I'll ask her if she agrees with that. Where are you living now? If you don't mind me asking.


  • Thanks so much and that'd be really lovely of you to check with your midwife. I moved to South Africa with my husband a couple of years ago. He's from here so it was a toss up between South Africa and England - I chose the sun (which I'm regretting slightly now as the heat and this bump are not a pleasant combination!) x

  • With a first baby, here in the UK we are advised to come in when they have been getting stronger, longer, more regular, closer together and more painful for at least a couple of hours AND they are now coming every 2-3 minutes and lasting nearly a minute. This is when I went to hospital and I was only just 4 cm dilated (just enough to stay in), and it was another 15 hours before she arrived!! However, it took me only 25 minutes to get to the hospital and they had gone from 6 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart in 2 hours. Therefore I would suggest maybe heading to hospital when they have been at least 5-6 minutes apart for a good hour or so. That being said, I had a very long latent labour, contractions less than every 10 minutes for 3 days before they got to the crucial 3 minutes apart. Every labour is different, but if they've been going for several hours at least and have got closer and closer together in a regular fashion, then the 5-6 minute rule would probably be a good one for you being so far away. hope this helps rather than confuses! Or how about having a home birth all the way?? Then you can ask midwife to come to you earlier than you would go to hospital? xxx

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