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When is it time to go to hospital?

Written by Jana Angeles  

Determining the signs of labour can be difficult to pinpoint, especially if this is your first pregnancy. Some mums may not know when to make their way to hospital once they reach the nine-month mark of their journey. If you are concerned about what signs to look for when it comes to labour, remain cautious and notify your nearest medical team so they can assess your pregnancy health. It may be time that your baby is ready to come out and join the real world.  

So, as a parent-to-be, what are the most common signs you should look out for that determine your readiness for the hospital? 


The most common sign that indicate you need to go hospital are contractions. When you’re in your third trimester, the baby tends to descend deeper into the pelvis. This happens approximately two to four weeks before birth. The contractions that prepare you for labour are different from the normal ones.  

 These can be described as painful and forceful and you could also feel some back pain too. Getting into these contractions prepare you for the phase of ‘latent labour’. During this process, it puts your body into preparation for birth by softening the cervix and the contractions allow it to open. If you feel like you’re getting inconsistent spasms, you are definitely ready to go to the hospital. 

Membranes Are Ruptured  

This is also known as ‘the water breaking’. This is when the amniotic sac that surrounds and protects the baby bursts and fluid passes through the vagina. For women who are carrying their first child, it’s possible to assume that this fluid is urine – as with all mums, it’s very easy for us to have our own ‘toilet accidents’ when it comes to pregnancy. However, it’s key to smell the liquid passing through, especially if you’re very close to the day you’re expected to give birth. The fluid has a distinct smell and it’s usually clear and it may have traces of pink in it too. 

Discharge That is Blood-Like 

If you see some discharge that has passed on your underwear, the mucus plug has broken. The mucus plug is responsible for protecting the baby from infections during the term of the pregnancy. Normally, the discharge has colours of pink, light brown or red and has a jelly-like texture to it; it can either look spotted or has several clumps. Normally when this happens, the ‘water breaks’ afterwards, making it a clear indication that you’re ready to go to hospital. 

The signs mentioned above are the most common signs, but there are others you should look out for. These include: 

  • Blurry vision or dizziness 
  • Bleeding (could show signs of premature separation of the placenta or placenta praevia) 
  • You have the urge to push 
  • Waters or mucus plug have a tinge of green, dark brown or yellow (watch out for this as it could indicate the presence of meconium (bowel movement of baby), increasing the risk of infection) 
  • Severe pain 
  • Vomiting for long periods of time 
  • No movement from the baby 

Please advise that if you show any of these signs, head straight to the hospital immediately. If it’s less than 38 weeks, you should still go in case of early labour. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so be extra cautious when you’re approaching your baby’s birth date. Never delay on it if you feel your ‘water break’ or if you see weird colours on your underwear – it’s your baby’s way of saying, “I’m ready to come out now!”  

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