Is it time to go to the hospital

The decision about when to go to the hospital can be a tricky one. You may have read that you should wait until your contractions are three to five minutes apart for at least one hour. A friend may have told you that you should go to the hospital when you can no longer walk or talk through your contractions. Still another person may have told you to wait until the pain moves from low down in the front of your abdomen to higher up, above your navel. Your partner may want you to ignore all this advice and just go. Now!

There is no real right answer to the question of whether it's time to go to the hospital. In fact, instructions about when to go to the hospital vary from health care provider to health care provider. To help make sense of what can be a confusing issue, make it easy on yourself. Follow your health care provider's instructions — to the letter. They've been individualized for you and your pregnancy — nobody else's.

One additional point: If your labor seems to be progressing very quickly, with frequent contractions, go to the hospital sooner rather than later. Also know that if you have a history of fast labor or you know your mom and sisters did, your chances of having a fast labor are increased.

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