Every woman’s labor experience is different, a few may have painful contractions for days or weeks before childbirth while others have no symptoms. However, you need to understand the difference between true labor and false labor pain. It can be confusing because contractions and Braxton hicks can be similar. As you approach your labor, you will experience high-intensity pains, discomfort, and pain in the cervix. Some women may even experience the baby’s movement in the birth canal. After reading this blog, you will know when to go to the hospital for labor.

Before we tell you when you should go to the hospital for labor, we want you to understand the stages of labor. 

Stages of Labor

A woman consults with the doctor

Read the different stages of labor to differentiate false pain and true labor pain. Knowing the stages will also mentally prepare you to handle every situation smartly. 

The First Stage of Labor

The first stage of labor is when you start to panic, but there’s a long way to go. During the early stages of labor, your cervix may dilate from 0 to 10 centimeters followed by vaginal discharge or mucus. The first stage is classified into three phases such as the latent phase, the active phase, and the transition phase. 

The Latent Phase: You can feel a mild contraction, and your cervix dilates from 0 to 3 centimeters.

The Active Phase: You may have strong painful contractions that last for three or four minutes, and your cervix will dilate from 3 to 8cm.

The Transition Phase: The cervix dilates from 8 to 10cm. Also, your contractions become more painful and frequent.

You should go to the hospital for labor when you feel strong and painful contractions. Having said that, you need to be aware of true vs false labor. 

True vs False Labor

A pregnant woman suffers from pain

False Labor True Labor
You can feel the mild contractions You feel strong and most painful contractions
Feel better after a bath, walk, and some rest Pain doesn’t get better even after walking and resting
You can feel the pain only in front (abdomen) The contraction starts from the lower back and then moves towards the front (abdomen)
You do not notice the vaginal discharge You may notice the vaginal discharge


Hope you now know when to reach out for assistance. Let’s have a look at the second stage. 

Second Stages of Labor

During the second stage of labor, you should already be in the hospital with someone assisting you with the delivery. This is an active stage where your cervix is fully dilating and the doctor may instruct or guide you through the entire process of giving birth or delivery.

The Third Stage of Labor

After 5 to 30 minutes of delivery, your uterus mildly contracts to relax and push out the placenta. The third stage has 2 main approaches to manage.

Active Management: After the delivery, the doctor cuts the umbilical cord and carefully pulls out the placenta with oxytocin.

Expectant Management: The placenta is released from the uterus by nipple stimulation. 

Go to the Hospital for Labor Immediately if You Notice the Following Symptoms

A pregnant woman in the labor ward

Water Breaks

During pregnancy, the amniotic fluid helps the baby’s development. It contains antibodies and nutrients. Also, the fluid protects your baby from bumps and injuries. If you notice warm fluid gush (amniotic fluid) leaking from the vagina, you should go to the hospital immediately. Because it is the final thing that happens before your delivery. If you notice the fluid color is green or brown, and you find odor from the water, you should contact your doctor or healthcare provider directly.

Also, read the benefits of lotus birth.

Heavy Bleeding

You should not be afraid if you find white or clear vaginal discharge or mucus. But, you should go to the hospital or call emergency if you have high blood flow like menstrual blood.

Other Symptoms

  • Strong contraction pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Feeling sick
  • Cramps like period pain
  • Decreased Fetal Movement

You should go to the hospital immediately if you have a contraction before 37 weeks of pregnancy. If you opt for other birthing plans, you should consult your doctor and go to the hospital for labor as instructed by your doctor. Don’t forget to practice prenatal yoga for pregnant women that helps you prepare for labor and childbirth.