We are not supporting this browser

Pregnancy

      When to go to hospital for labour

      Hospital bag

      Getting the timing right

      Everybody’s labour is different so there’s no hard and fast rule about when to go to the hospital. Generally, it’s best to call your midwife or the hospital first so they can assess whether they think it’s time for you to go in

      You might be told to wait until your contractions are closer together or your midwife may say that you are ready to go in. Either way, she’ll advise you on the best thing to do depending on your individual situation.

      What your midwife will want to know

      The reason to call before going to the hospital for labour is so that your midwife can talk to you about what you are feeling and how you are coping. Through this she can advise you what to do. She’ll ask you:

      • How you’re doing and when you last felt your baby move.
      • How long the contractions have been happening, how far apart they are and how long they last.
      • If your waters have broken or you have any vaginal discharge or bleeding.
      • Whether it’s your first baby.

      She’ll then advise you whether or not to go in or wait a bit longer.

      Signs that you should call your midwife or hospital straight away

      If any of the following happen, you should get in touch with your midwife or hospital. If you aren’t able to call, head straight there so that they can make sure everything is ok and give you the attention you need. Don’t be afraid to call for an ambulance if you’re on your own and unable to get to the hospital yourself. 

      • If you’re less than 37 weeks pregnant and are feeling contractions.
      • If you feel there have been changes – either an increase or a decrease – to your baby’s normal movements.
      • If your contractions are too strong for you to cope with. 

      Could it be a false alarm?

      Before you’ve experienced the real thing, the practice labour pains of Braxton Hicks can make you think your baby’s almost ready to make their big entrance.

      Any more questions?

      Our specialist baby advisors and experienced mums are here to talk and ready to help whenever you need them. You can call us or reach us on Live Chat 8.30am-5.30pm Monday-Friday.

      Join the C&G baby club today

      Join the C&G baby club today

      • Weekly emails with tips and advice for your stage
      • 1-to-1 support from our dedicated Careline team, 8.30am - 5.30pm Monday to Friday.
      Join us now

      More from pregnancy

      Your privacy is important to us and therefore we would like to explain how we use cookies on this website. With your consent, we will use cookies to measure and analyse how our website is used (analytical cookies), to tailor it to your interests (personalisation cookies), and to show you relevant advertising and information (targeting cookies) we think you will like. For more information please read the cookie statement.

      Privacy Settings

      You can choose your preferences anytime for cookies and tracking. For more information please read our cookie policy

      • Strictly necessary

        They are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services (setting your privacy preferences, logging in, filling in forms, etc.). You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work.

      • Analytical cookies

        They allow us to count visits and traffic sources, to measure and improve the performance of our site. They show us which pages are the most and least popular and how visitors move around the site. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

      • Personalisation cookies

        They enable website’s enhanced functionality and personalization. They may be set by us or by third parties whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies, some or all of these services may not function properly.

      • Targeting cookies

        They may be set through our site by our advertising partners, to build a profile of your interests and to show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.