Am I in Labor?
 
 

There are three big things to look for to tell you when you should go to the hospital:

1.  If you have regular contractions every five minutes for two hours.

2.  If you break your bag - of - waters.

3.  If you bleed heavier than the heaviest day of you usual period.

Most first time moms have an 8 - 12 hour labor while repeat moms have a 6 - 8 hour labor.  Usually active labor changes the cervix when you have regular contractions every 2 to3 minutes.  So, in general, unless your doctor tells you differently, you can safely wait till contractions occur regularly every 5 mins for 2 hours.  This may save you some false labor visits, but you won't be delivering in the car on the way to the hospital either!

Breaking your bag - of - waters is usually enough to stand in a puddle, wake up in a puddle or completely soak through your clothes (to even get your socks wet!).  Usually it is clear (that's why they call it water), but may be red or green tinged with blood or meconium (baby's first bowel movement).

Bleeding more than the heaviest day of your period is pretty self explanatory and a little scary.  Often it is just a sign of rapid labor, but can be a sign of a serious problem.  Either of which you need to immediately come to the hospital.  Do not wait to ask, just come.   Now!

Remember, the hospital is always open if you break your bag - of - waters or bleed more that a period.  But, if it is just contractions and during office hours, you could be seen in the office and save you a hospital charge and experience.