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Labor and delivery questions to ask


Whether this is your first pregnancy or you have been through it before there are always lots of questions that you should ask before you go into labor and delivery.

It’s really important you do so so that you can be fully informed before you go into labor because once you go into labor it will be almost too late to take control.

Believe me, not all hospitals are made equally and some will be more suited to your needs than others.

You also want to make sure that you are fully informed on what to expect on the big day.

I’ve put together 10 questions that you should ask your hospital/ midwife in advance.


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10 Things To Ask Before You Go Into Labor


1. Can I Eat And Drink During Labor?

There are different schools of thought on this.  Some people will advise that once labor starts you should not eat.  

The idea behind this is because if you do have something to eat it could come out later during delivery, particularly whilst pushing!

The other school of thought is that you should have something light to eat even if you are in labor to make sure that you can keep your energy levels up.

If this is your first pregnancy you could be in labor for a number of hours and you don’t want to end up begin drained before you have even begun to push your baby out.

Every hospital will have different rules on this so be sure to check before you go into labor.


2. Will I Be Permitted To Walk Around Whilst I Am In Labor?

Most hospitals will actually encourage you to walk around when you are in labor. This helps your labor to progress as your baby’s head presses down on your cervix helping it to open up.

Many women find that walking helps to distract them from the pain.

It’s actually better to labor upright rather than laying down.  I mean imagine trying to do a poop laying down?  It certainly wouldn’t be the easiest way to do it.  Giving birth is very similar to that process.

Find out if your hospital will allow you to walk around and stay upright.


3. How Many People Can I Have In The Delivery Room?

If you want to have a few people in the delivery room with you you definitely need to find out if your hospital will allow this.

Most places prefer it if you have no more than 2 people in the room when you are about to deliver.

This makes sure there are no overcrowding issues and doctors and midwives can move freely without too much disruption.

Some hospitals will only allow friends and family to stay in the waiting room area.


4. How far dilated do I have to be before I can come into hospital?

It’s never a good idea to get to the hospital too early.  You will likely be told to go home if you do.  

For this reason, it’s important that you time your contractions.

Your contractions can give a pretty good indication as to how far dilated you are.

Most hospitals prefer that you are around 6cm dilated before they will admit you.

Once you get to the hospital they will do a vaginal exam to check.


5. Do I Have To Be On A Shared Ward Or Will I Have My Own Private Room?

Usually, you will give birth in a private room but once you have given birth you will either be transferred to a labor ward or your own private room.

A lot will depend on the facilities that the hospital offers.

You may also be able to request a private room at an additional cost.


6.  Will I Be Able To Tell If My Labor Is Real Or False?

It’s a good idea to learn the difference between true and false labor in advance.

Some people can get actual labor mixed up with Braxton hicks.

You can also have some false indicators of labor as well.

Your water can break and you may think that labor has started but that may not be the case.  Your water can in fact break many days before you actually go into established labor.

If you want to know more about finding out if your contractions are real or not you can take a look at this.



7. Will I Need To Stay In Hospital After I Give Birth?

Depending on the time of day that you give birth you may have to stay overnight or at least for a few hours after delivery to ensure that there are no further complications.

It is normal practice for you to be closely monitored after birth so don’t expect that you will just be able to jump up and leave afterward.

Having a few hours to rest in hospital can be a welcomed relief for some new moms as it gives you that time that you need to recover without thinking about housework.


8. How Will I Know Its Time To Head To The Hospital?

Your contractions will give you an indication of this.  You usually have to call into the hospital before you arrive and one of the first questions that they will ask you is how far apart your contractions are.

They usually like them to be roughly 5 minutes apart but this can vary from hospital to hospital so do check what your particular hospital requires.

Make sure that your contractions are frequent and regular.


9. Do I Have To Have Vaginal Examinations During Labor?

Vaginal examinations are pretty normal but some don’t like them.

Having a vaginal examination allows your midwife to know exactly how far dilated you are.

You can request that these are not done but you might meet quite a bit of resistance on this.

If you are adamant about this it could be hard to find a hospital that will allow it.


10. What Is Your C-Section Rate Like?

This is one question that I did not know to ask when I had my first baby and it is a really important one to ask if you have planned to have a natural birth.

Believe it on not some hospitals have very high rates of c-sections.  If you are sure that you would like to have a natural birth then it might be better to stay away from hospitals who have high C-section rates and look for ones that encourage natural birthing instead.


Final Thoughts On What To Ask Before Labor And Delivery

Labor can be full of so many surprises along the way.

It’s a good idea to think in advance about any additional questions that you would like to ask your midwife to make sure that nothing is missed.

You should also put together a birth plan and have your midwife look over it before you go into labor so you can agree on what you want to happen on the day.

You can get a copy of my natural birth plan here:



Labor and delivery questions to ask

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What to do when labor starts (11 Things to consider)

Is my baby’s head engaged?

17 Tip for having a natural birth