When You’re Ready to Come to the Hospital

Preparing for childbirth

Where to Go

  • Day/Evening (6 a.m. – 11 p.m.) Please enter through the main hospital entrance and someone at the information desk will assist you.
  • Overnight (11 p.m. – 6 a.m.) Please come in through the Emergency Department.

Signs You Are in Labor

Here are some tips to recognize when you’re in labor and it’s time to come to the hospital. This information is not intended to replace medical advice from your own doctor, so be sure to speak with him or her further.

1. You have strong, regular contractions.

True labor pains become more intense and frequent over time. It may begin with what feels like menstrual cramps and later progress into sharp, distinct contractions happening between 10 minutes and one minute apart.

2. You have severe back pain.

We’re sure your back has been aching for a few months at this point, but there’s a noticeable difference when you’re in labor. Contractions may radiate from your back, creating an intense on-and-off sensation of pressure and pain.

3. Your water breaks.

It’s not necessarily like what you’ve seen in the movies. Surprisingly, only one in 10 pregnant woman experience this prior to contractions. If your water does break, you may either experience a large gush, a small leak, or a combination of both.

4. You notice discharge.

As your cervix begins to dilate, the cervical plug may become dislodged in the form of a thick mucus or runny smear, and is usually clear, slightly pink, or blood-tinged in color. This can happen in conjunction with strong contractions. However, it is also not an immediate sign of labor. You can pass the cervical plug within days or even weeks before labor. Some women might not notice the loss of their cervical plug.

5. Soft bowel movements or diarrhea.

Birth hormones send signals to your body to ready it for the birthing process but it can also cause frequent bowel movements and diarrhea.