When is a good time to go to the hospital (for labor)? I read on the subject & spoke to people but seem to be getting conflicting answers -- some say as soon as your water breaks, other say to wait it out till contractions are 5 min apart lasting 1 min for 1 hour. I live about 25 mins away from the hospital (by car), what's a good time to go if I don't want to call an ambulance?

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Jaime - posted on 01/13/2009

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With my second child I was told to come in if my water broke immediatly. If my contractions were 5-8 minutes apart with trouble breathing through them and no broken bag it was still time to come in. I live about 25 minutes away too. I left when my contractions were 5 minutes apart and by the time I got to South Shore Hospital they were 3 minutes apart. I think you can trust your insticts. You will make it in time. Good luck!

Kimberly - posted on 01/13/2009

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When I was pregnant with my first child we only lived 2 minutes from the hospital which was good because my water broke at home and he was born 30 minutes later.  Not Common for a First Child!  I was glad I got my butt out the door when I did.  My second child, my water broke at home and we were 15 minutes away from the hospital so we left right away not taking any chances.  But he came along 5 hours later.  But we were told the same thing about getting to the hospital right away if your water breaks because of infection.  (by the OBGYN).  Go with your instincts.  We were also told between 8 and 5 minutes but do what makes you feel comfortable. 

Karlene - posted on 01/13/2009

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I have been told that you have up to at least 24 hours after your water breaks before they do anything drastic like a c-section.  With my first, my water broke on the way to the hospital (my contractions were 10 minutes apart at the time).  With my second, we left the house for a 40 minute drive when they were 5 minutes apart.  They broke my water 5 hours after I got there as she was coming down the canal.  Water breaking doesn't really impact how quickly you need to get there... some people who go all-natural have been know to give birth without the water breaking at all.  I would go with the 5 minutes apart rule.  You will know when you feel like "ok, we need to get to the hospital NOW"...you really will know that.  Until you feel that way, though-relax as much as you can at home... laughter relaxes the muscles around the uterus-which helps the contractions not hurt as much, so watch a hilarious movie or something.  Good luck!

Diana - posted on 01/13/2009

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GO by your own instinct. I woke up in severe pain and was out the door in 15 min. Good thing because within half an hour after arriving I was fully dialted. And we live not even 10 min away.  My water never broke, his head was acting like a cork and kept it in there.  From the first pain to the birth was only 2 hours. And this was my first child. So you never really know until the time comes. Good luck!!!

Cheryl - posted on 01/13/2009

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if its your first pregnancy, the majority of the time, its a long labour (mine was days). I waited until the pain got too much to handle, and you need more painrelief than you have at home.

but if you are able to handle it, i would say 15 minutes with a 25 minute drive. and if your waters brake that can make it happen quicker, so get to the hospital or get medical advice.

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Delia - posted on 06/18/2011

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This is an old post, by I'm troubled enough by the misinformation/advice being given that I feel compelled to post a reply.



If your water breaks, assuming the fluid is clear with no foul smell (an indication of an existing infection or stressed baby), quoting the words of an old time OB, "there are three things that cause an infection - two fingers and a nasal cavity". As long as you don't put anything inside, including a sterile gloved fingers for vaginal exams by your trusty nurse, you'll be fine. Tested and verified by LOTS of studies!



Waiting 24 hours before inducing, called expectant management, allows 60% to 95% of women to go into labor on their own. If you go to the hospital before that point, the clock will be wound with your first vag exam, and they WILL NOT let you wait. Time = money, and you're occupying a bed that could be occupied by women in active labor. You will be unnecessarily induced/augmented with Pitocin which about triples your chance of ending up with a cesarean section.



Please note: Water breaking accompanied by strong contractions is associated with "precipitous labor" aka fast birth. I've had BOTH. Baby #1 water broke Monday night, no contractions until Wednesday morning, baby born 46 hours after water initially broke. Baby #3 water broke 3:00am accompanied with strong contractions, baby born 3 hours later start to finish.

Bianca - posted on 01/14/2009

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my waters broke at 28wks with my youngest daughter and i was in hopital for a wk before i actually had her because i never started contracting,as she was going to be premmie they had to keep an eye on me.but i was also told that if i was at full term they would of acvised me to stay home until my contractions were  5 mins apart to reduce the risk of infection.but in saying that i was in full blown labour with my oldest daughter and my waters didn't break until about half an hr before i actually had her and if i hadn't have gone to the hospital when i felt the time was right and waited until my waters had broken i would have had her in the car on my way there.so whenever you feel the time is right then u need to go.

Nicole - posted on 01/14/2009

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If your water breaks you need to go to the hospital because you only have 24 hours to have to baby once your water breaks or else you can get an infection.  My water started leaking with my first baby and my doctor told me I needed to get to the hospital within a few hours, esp with first babies you never know how long it will take, I got to the hospital and was already 4 centimeters and wasn't even feeling any contractions, my daughter was born 8 hours later.  Better be safe than sorry.

Emily - posted on 01/14/2009

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My water broke with my first, and I was induced with my second. Go right away if your water breaks or if your water doesn't break on your own, try to wait until the contractions are five minutes apart because you can do a lot more walking and moving around at home, plus you don't want them to send you back home just to end up right back at the hospital.

Cassie - posted on 01/13/2009

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If your water breaks you are actually supposed to go to the hospital immediately.  This is per my obgyn.  He says that there is too big of a risk of infection, so you should not wait at home.  Only wait at home if you are just having contractions, without your water breaking.  Hope this helps.

Amy - posted on 01/13/2009

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I was told to go as soon as my water breaks cause you never know how fast the baby will come

Pati - posted on 01/13/2009

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If your water breaks thats a good sign its time to go. I was told to monitor my contractions till they were either 5 minutes apart or if they were lasting over 1 minute and strong or if my water broke.  Mine started at 11:00pm and I watched movies with a pad of paper noting times all night I went to the hospital at 8:00 am they broke my water at 9:30 and then the pain started... she was born at 6:55pm.  Trust your instincts, you will know when its time to go.

Jo - posted on 01/13/2009

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if its your first child then you will probably feel less panicked the earlier you get there, i was induced with my first daughter so i didnt realise what a mad rush it could be to get there until i went into natural labour with my second, it was such a contrast. your best bet really is to go with your own instinct, you will know when the time is right, you can feel it. good luck and best wishes with your pregnancy and birth. jo x

Courtney - posted on 01/13/2009

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Go whichever comes first.  If your water breaks, go.  You only have so many hours after your water breaks to have the baby or they will have to take it Csection.  I went 8 hours after mine broke, because I didn't realize it had (leaked).  They had to start me on pitocin because I wasn't contracting on my own.  Had it not been for that, I would have had to have a Csection.  Good luck!!

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