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Arriving at the Hospital


Nurse Goodwin

While each medical treatment facility has a slightly different way of doing things, when you get to the hospital, you can expect several things to happen.

First, you’ll be given a physical exam. Your vital signs will be taken and a staff member may feel your stomach to see where your baby is and estimate how big he is. During your labor, you’ll have periodic vaginal exams to check your progress and confirm the position of your baby.

A provider will also look at your baby’s heart rate and check the pattern of your contractions. You may be hooked up to an electronic fetal monitor that gives your healthcare team a detailed picture of how your baby is doing during your labor.

The provider will attach the monitor with two cloth or Velcro belts placed around your stomach. One belt secures a monitor that tracks your baby’s heart rate, and the other belt holds a monitor that records your contractions.

Your provider may want you to have an IV, or intravenous line, attached to your hand or arm during your labor. This way, she can make sure you’re getting enough fluids, and have a quick way to give you any medicine, if it’s necessary.

Usually at the same time your IV is being inserted, your nurse may draw some of your blood for testing. The tests usually include a complete blood count, or CBC, to look for anemia or infection. If you’re having complications, your provider may order other studies including tests to look at your liver and kidney function.

Everyone on your healthcare team will be working hard to make sure that all is going well for you and your baby. You may not be aware of most of this activity since it’s often behind the scenes, but just know that you’re in very good hands!