Women holding their baby

Am I in labour?

Your doctor/midwife will provide you specific information about when to come to the hospital. When you arrive, check in at triage, located in the M-wing, on the 5th floor. You will be assessed to see if you will be admitted or sent home with information about when to return. Priority is given to women who are close to delivery or who are having problems.

First baby

  • Come to the hospital when your contractions are less than five minutes apart, are lasting about 60 seconds and are uncomfortable.
  • If you are comfortable at home, stay there. This stage may last for several hours. Come back to the hospital when you aren’t comfortable any more.

If this is not your first baby

  • Come to the hospital when your contractions are five minutes apart, last for 45- 60 seconds and are uncomfortable.
  • If you had a fast labour the last time, come as soon as your contractions are regular or you aren’t comfortable any more.

My water is broken

If your water breaks at home, come to triage if:

  • The colour of the water is green
  • You know you are Group B Strep positive or if you do not know your status

You can continue labouring at home if you are coping well and:

  • You are Group B Strep negative with contractions
  • You have called your doctor and have planned to come at a specific time.

What to expect in triage

A nurse will ask you questions about your pregnancy and the reason you came to triage. The nurse will check your health – blood pressure, pulse and assess your labour. This assessment may include a vaginal examination. The nurse will also assess your baby’s position and heartbeat. A resident will be notified and a decision will be made whether you will be admitted to the Birthing Unit. If you are in early labour it may be suggested that you go home while your labour progresses.

The best place for women during early labour is at home in familiar surroundings. While you’re at home, carry on with your normal daily activities. For example, eating, relaxing, going for a walk. If you have concerns, please come to the hospital.

If you're sent home from triage

Once we have assessed you and your baby, and everything is within acceptable limits, we may suggest you return home in the earlier stages of labour to relax in the comfort of your home. You will be given instructions for when to return. And you can always return when you feel you need to be seen.

Read more: Suggestions to help you manage contractions at home

Return to triage when:

  • Your contractions are lasting as long, and are as frequent, as indicated by your care team
  • You need pain relief from your contractions.
  • You feel your baby is not moving as much as usual.
  • You are bleeding, like a menstrual period (it is normal to have some mucousy bleeding or spotting in labour or after a vaginal exam).

Concerns about yourself or your baby

It's normal to have concerns about you or your baby as you get closer to delivery. During office hourse, please contact your care provider. After office hours, please proceed to triage. Please be aware that nurses are unable to give medical advice over the phone.