What’s the 4-1-1 on knowing when it’s time to go to the hospital?
This is a question we often get when consulting with our clients. One of the biggest fears that many parents have is that they will leave too soon and get sent back home. Others are afraid that they will not leave soon enough and not make it to the hospital in time. No one wants to imagine having a baby in the car on the side of the road. We've seen those videos. We don't want to be in those videos.
It may be surprising to you, but the answer may be different for some depending on their individual situation and circumstances.
A good rule of thumb that your care provider might suggest is the 4-1-1 Rule. As your labor progresses from early labor to active labor, your contractions will begin to get longer, stronger, and closer together. They may even begin to take your breath away and require you to focus solely on your breathing and other coping techniques. At some point surges will begin to have a noticeable pattern, coming about 4 minutes apart, lasting nearly 1 minute, over the period of one hour in a normal, low-risk pregnancy. When your labor progression reaches this point, you will want to contact your care provider. They may suggest that you begin your journey to your birthing location.
Your care provider may want you to come in sooner if you are contracting and are less than 36 weeks, your water breaks, especially if contractions have not started, if meconium is present, or if you are GBS positive.