Doulas Northwest | Arriving At the Hospital: What to Expect
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23 May Arriving At the Hospital: What to Expect


It’s normal that you’ve been focused on your “end game” of giving birth and getting settled at home with your new family member.

So let’s take a look at one of the steps you’ll be taking along the way to winning your end game -arriving at the hospital!

Imagine with me:

Contractions are steady, things are getting real, you are pretty sure it’s “time.”

You’ve called your doula and that meet up plan is in place, your partner loads the hospital bag, helps you into the car, and off you go…

Recently, you took the recommended hospital tour, so you know where to park, but it is 2 AM and that means: entering through the emergency room. What next?

Inside the ER, you will be directed to the Labor & Delivery Unit and the first stop you can expect is an exam room in the triage area where your contraction activity and cervical change will be assessed, your baby’s heartbeat will be monitored, and if heading toward active labor, assigned a room.

Once in your room, it will be all about getting you and your care team settled in together so that your labor can progress as smoothly as possible. You can expect:

  • To be provided a gown to change into
  • The invitation to put your hospital bag in a convenient place and unpack any items you wish to have at your fingertips
  • Your nurse will:
    • Check your vital signs including pulse, blood pressure, temperature
  • Your nurse will ask you questions about things like:
    • The last time you ate & drank
    • How close you are to your due date
    • The length, strength, and time between contractions
    • If your  water has broken
    • If you have experienced any vaginal bleeding
    • About your baby’s movements over the past few hours
    • Previous pregnancies and births
    • Current health problems or allergies
    • Names and amounts of medications you’re taking
    • Any complications during pregnancy
    • The results of your screening for Group B strep
    • Your birth plan
  • Your nurse will listen to your baby’s heartbeat and will use an electronic fetal monitor for 20-30 minutes during this admission process, to get a good understanding of your baby’s well being.
  • Blood will be drawn and sent to the lab for evaluation
  • A Hep or Saline lock will be placed, so that the staging is set for a full IV, should it be needed later

By now, you’ve been in your room for a short while, getting to know your nurse and getting familiar with your surroundings. After your admission process is complete, you can expect to move forward with your support team, your medical care team, and your loved ones working in tandem with each other as you get on with winning your end game.

(Of course, if your baby’s birth is imminent upon arrival to the hospital, your admission processes will be expedited and if you are still very early in your labor when in triage, your care team will work with you on a strategy for the best way to move forward even if that means not admitting you quite yet.)


For additional information on how to round out your support team with Doulas Northwest:


Seattle | Tacoma | Olympia


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