What Happens When I Get to the Hospital?
The exact routine depends on your hospital’s specific procedures, but odds are good that it will go something like this: First, you’ll check in. (If you pre-registered, this will only take a second.) Next, you’ll either have the dilation of your cervix checked in a triage room (to make sure you’re really in active labor), or you’ll be taken to your labor or birthing room and admitted — you’ll be having a baby today! Once in the room, you’ll be quizzed about your status (when your contractions started, how far apart they are, if your water has broken), given a lovely butt-baring hospital gown to change into, and asked to sign a few routine consent forms. Once you hop (okay, maybe not hop, exactly) onto the bed, the nurse will check your vitals (pulse, blood pressure, temperature, breathing), check your cervix if you weren’t checked in triage, look for anything leaking out of you (like blood or amniotic fluid), and check baby’s heart rate with a Doppler or fetal monitor. She’ll check baby’s position too. You may be hooked up to IV fluids at this point (this is routine in some hospitals, but not in others), and you may also be hooked up to external or internal fetal monitors, depending on the hospital and doctor’s policies, the risk level of your pregnancy, and baby’s status. (Intermittent monitoring with the Doppler might be allowed instead, especially if you’ll be walking around in labor. Talk to your OB if this is what you’d prefer.)
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