Is whend an actual correct contraction

Birth: When should you go to the hospital?

One thing right up front: You alone decide when you go to the hospital. If you have the feeling that this is going to start, these are real contractions, then grab the case and go to the hospital. If in doubt, the doctors will give the all-clear and send you back home. Don't be afraid to be "overly cautious"!

But if you want to be on the safe side, there are indeed signs that let you know exactly that the birth is really imminent and that you should drive to the hospital

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Video by Esther Pistorius

Labor pains

Even weeks before the calculated due date, you can feel the first small contractions during pregnancy, the so-called Braxton-Hicks contractions or also called training pains. And as the name suggests, these mostly painless contractions, noticeable through the hardening of the abdomen, are not heralds of childbirth. In fact, they are only used for preparation.

Real labor pains are more painful than the practice pains and are more permanent. If you have first child, go to the hospital if contractions last at least a minute and repeat every 5-10 minutes.

Rupture of the amniotic sac

In films, an imminent birth is often announced by the dramatically staged bursting of the amniotic sac. But as already explained, contractions can also be a first indication of the approaching birth and the amniotic sac can only burst during the birth itself.

However, if you notice that you are losing amniotic fluid (at least 1 glass) it may be due to a tear in the amniotic sac or a ruptured urinary fluid. Once the amniotic sac is open, there is a risk of infection for the baby. In this case, you shouldn't hesitate and go to the hospital straight away.

If your amniotic sac actually bursts like in the movie, caution is also required. Because if the child has not yet slipped properly into the pelvis, it may slip in after the amniotic sac has burst and thereby pinch off the umbilical cord. In this case, you should be transported lying down on your drive to the hospital. If you are completely unsure, call an ambulance.

But don't panic!

For first-time mothers, delivery takes an average of 8-10 hours, i.e. longer than the birth of a second or third child. Of course, this is very different from woman to woman. Some women talk about a 20-hour birth and others say it goes very quickly.

But a long birth doesn't mean that you have to suffer for a long time. Think about pain medication or epidural anesthesia before the birth. Depending on the situation, they can provide significant pain relief. In addition, there are always rest periods in the course of a birth when nothing happens at all.

Trust yourself and your doctors

Once you are in the hospital and midwives and doctors confirm that the birth has started, you are under 'constant' control. Above all, you can always ask your attending midwife and point out anything that worries you.

In the event that the birth actually takes too long and there is a risk for mother or child, the delivery can be triggered or accelerated artificially (with the help of a labor-promoting agent). If the life of the child or mother is really acute, doctors take the initiative and perform an emergency caesarean section.

When you go to the hospital, take all personal belongings and baby clothes with you and check the checklist you may have received from the hospital so that you don't forget anything in the excitement.

Very important for the trip to the hospital

If possible, avoid driving a car yourself and let your partner or a friend chauffeur you. These, sometimes delicate, transports are rather unpopular with taxi drivers.

Important after the birth: postnatal gymnastics!

Video by Sabrina Först


You can find more information about labor and the start of labor at the Federal Center for Health Education (BzGA).

You can find more on the topic here:

From the first contraction to the birth: This is what you should know about childbirth

Did you know? 14 things that happen at birth that nobody will tell you

Natural, real & unadorned: 7 photos that perfectly capture the miracle of childbirth

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