Skip to main content

Coming to the Hospital

When should you come to the hospital?

If you are more than 20 weeks pregnant and have any pregnancy concerns or think you are in labour, come to our Labour Assessment Unit.

Come to the Labour Assessment Unit if at any time you are worried about:

  • Contractions that are strong and occur frequently
  • Your water breaking (Ruptured membranes)
  • Bleeding from your vagina
  • Sudden/constant pain
  • the baby is not moving as often as you are used to
  • any changes in your condition

If you are less than 20 weeks pregnant and have any concerns, please contact your care provider or go directly to the closest Hospital Emergency Department.

True Labour and Pre Labour - What’s the difference?

  True Labour Pre Labour
Contractions: Occur regularly, becoming stronger;
then lasting longer and occurring closer together
Occur irregularly
  Become stronger with walking and continue even if you are resting Often stop with walking or when you lie down
  Usually felt in the back, radiating to lower portion of abdomen Can be felt in the back and abdomen above the navel
  Continuing despite use of comfort measures (such as massage, relaxation techniques or a warm shower/bath) Often stop by use of comfort measures
  True Labour Pre Labour
Cervix: Presence of bloody show indicates progressive changes of the cervix (softening, thinning, and dilatation) Bloody show may occur with no significant change of the cervix

You will be admitted to Birthing Suite once you are in active labour. If you are in early labour you may be sent back home with information and when to return.

How do I cope at home in early labour?

  • Eating and drinking is encouraged
  • Normal activity is encouraged – short walks
  • Rest/Sleep when you feel tired
  • Use breathing, relaxation and focusing
  • Find positions that are most comfortable for you
  • Use hot/cold packs, massage, music, rocking
  • You may shower or bathe

When do I return to the hospital?

Regardless of how much or how little time has passed since you have been sent home from hospital, please return to the hospital if you experience any one of the following:

  • Your contractions are getting closer and stronger or
  • Your contractions are every five minutes from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next, lasting 50-60 seconds
  • If you feel sudden or constant pain in your abdomen
  • If your water is leaking
  • If you are worried about yourself or the baby
  • There is a change in how your baby is moving
  • If you have any bright red vaginal bleeding

What do I do in an emergency?

Call 911 if:

You have heavy bleeding from your vagina (soaking more than one pad)
You feel the baby coming and you feel like pushing
If you feel fullness or something "hanging" from your vagina
If it feels like the baby is coming – call 911.

What is a Non Stress Test (NST)?

Your careprovider may suggest a Non Stress Test (NST) during pregnancy. A NST is used to monitor your baby's heartrate and movements while you are pregnant. The nurse will place a monitor onto your abdomen to assess the baby's heartbeat and will check to see if you are having any contractions. A NST will take at least 20 minutes once you have been placed on the monitor, but sometimes it may take longer based on the information we are looking to collect. Scheduled NSTs may be delayed if the unit is busy.

What if I want to collect umbilical cord blood?

Some parents choose to have their baby's umbilical cord blood collected at the time of birth to be stored for future use. You will need to pre-register with a company that collects umbilical cord blood ahead of time. If you decide at the last minute to have this procedure done, extra packages are available. *This procedure is not covered by OHIP. There are additional costs for preparation and collection of umbilical cord blood.

Additional Support

At any time during your pregnancy, you may be referred to a member of the hospital's interprofessional team, such as the genetics department, social work, Lactation Consultant, clinical dietitian, pediatrician or Women's Reproductive Mental Health program to support you during your pregnancy.

What is Induction of Labour? Do I need it?

Induction of Labour is a medical procedure that helps soften your cervix and starts your labour contractions. Your careprovider will talk to you about whether or not Induction of Labour is something you require. The decision to induce your labour is made when the benefits of having your baby sooner outweigh waiting for your labour to occur naturally. The entire process can take 1-2 days (occasionally longer) - babies are not always born on the same day as your induction.

Your careprovider may discuss induction with you if any of the following are present:

  • High blood pressure
  • Ruptured membranes (water broken) without signs of labour
  • Medical condition such as Type 1 Diabetes
  • Baby's growth is less than expected
  • 8 days past due date
  • You are having twins
  • You have had a previous stillbirth

Your careprovider will organize your induction with the Birthing Suites staff. You will be called to come in when the unit is ready for your arrival. Your induction may be delayed if the unit is extremely busy. When you arrive a Non Stress Test will be done and some blood will be drawn from you. The careprovider will assess you and decide either to use a medication or to break your water. After the procedure we will monitor the baby's heart rate for 1-2 hours and then you may be sent home depending on your condition. Sometimes the procedure needs to be repeated if your labour does not start with the first attempt. You may be brought back the same day for more medication or in 24-hours depending on the type of medication used.

What does GBS Mean?

GBS means Group B Streptococcus. You should be aware of your GBS status. If it is positive, you will receive some antibiotics to decrease the risk of infection to the baby during the birth. Your doctor or midwife will discuss GBS with you during your pregnancy.

What options are available to me for pain relief?

Pain medication is given upon your request once you are in labour. Walking, using a jacuzzi tub, birthing ball or massage chair if available are ways to manage pain. If you wish to receive an epidural, the anesthesiologist (doctor who specializes in anesthesiology) will be paged and arrive at the earliest possible time, but during certain times, he or she may be delayed with an emergency.

What to bring to the hospital?

For Mom:

  • your health card
  • extra insurance information (if applicable)
  • pen to fill out forms
  • discardable underwear
  • personal hygiene products
  • maxi pads/maternity pads
  • two pillows
  • breastfeeding pillow (optional)
  • lip gloss / or balm
  • massage oils
  • partner's swimsuit if joining you in shower or tub
  • camera with extra batteries and film (or memory card)
  • video and/ or digital video camera (optional)
  • tape recorder or CD player with batteries and music for relaxation options
  • your personalized focal point
  • freezies (labeled with your name)
  • breath freshener, toothpaste and toothbrushes for you and partner
  • housecoat and slippers
  • socks
  • snacks for partner (vending machines available 24 hours)

For Baby:

  • diapers
  • baby wipes
  • blankets
  • several outfits (optional, there are also hospital gowns available)
  • mild baby soap
  • hat (bonnet)
  • mittens, socks or booties