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    Questions? Ask Henci!

    Find out what other moms-to-be are asking. Join in the discussion with Henci Goer, whose expertise is determining what the research tells us best promotes safe, healthy birth. If you would like to contact Henci outside of the Ask Henci forum, send an email to

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    Archived User

    Everybody suggests laboring at home as long as possible.  With my first baby i went into the hospital when contractions were 3 minutes apart but it still took 9 hours to have my baby.  I want to avoid interventions (esp epidural) so I want to go at the absolute last minute this time.  I'm just not sure what that looks like.  Do you go by time between contractions or do you go by how low you feel the baby is.  The hospital is 30 minutes away.  Honestly I'd rather birth in the car than get to the hospital too early.  I was going to have a home birth but it didnt work out for a couple reasons. =(


    Thank you. 

    Henci Goer

    As it happens, I wrote an article about this issue some years ago that is still up on the internet that may provide you some helpful guidelines. Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules even for the same woman with different pregnancies. If you are not sure whether labor is advanced enough to belong in the hospital, one thing you can do is get checked at your care provider's office if it is during the day, or if at night or on the weekend, go to the hospital but tell them you don't want to be admitted, just checked. Then you can decide whether to return home, hang out in the hospital or somewhere close by for awhile and get checked again, or be admitted. I should add, too, that 9 hours from hospital admittance to the birth with a first baby is a pretty good call for when to go in. Also, if your goal is avoiding interventions such as an epidural, have you thought about hiring a doula? If this is a new concept for you, a doula is a woman trained and experienced in providing labor support. You can find out more about doulas here.

    -- Henci

    All Times America/New_York

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