In this section, you can find information about when to come to the hospital, the birthing process, visiting, security and safety in the hospital, and returning home from hospital.
Looking for a tour of the unit, how to get to the hospital, or a list of what to bring with you? Please check our "Preparing for Birth" section for more info!
When to come to the hospital
If you are more than 20 weeks pregnant, come directly to childbirth triage for assessment. If you are less than 20 weeks pregnant, go to your closest emergency department.
Your physician may have a phone line you can call if you have concerns, to help you assess if you should come to the hospital or not. If you plan to have a midwife deliver your baby, please call your midwife before coming to the hospital – they will assist you if deciding if you need to go to hospital. Some of the time your midwife may prefer to visit you at home or clinic before you go to hospital. They will discuss this with you.
Please note GRH nurses cannot assess you over the phone and will ask you to come to triage for assessment.
Come to the hospital if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Preterm Labour - Labour that starts when you are between 20 to 37 weeks pregnant. In preterm labour, you may experience regular contractions, increased vaginal discharge, abdominal and/or low back cramps similar to menstrual cramps, or increased pelvic pressure.
- Active labour ie. regular contractions. Your care provider may give you instructions for determining when you are in active labour. A common suggestion is to come to the hospital when contractions are 5 minutes apart, with each contraction lasting 1 minute, with this pattern happening for at least 1 hour - however your provider may give you different instructions, which you should follow.
- If you believe you are in labour, but you know you need a Caesarean section to deliver your baby safely.
- Rupture of membranes (water breaking; sudden gush or slow trickle of fluid from the vagina).
- Change in vaginal fluid colour (i.e. amniotic fluid is no longer clear colour).
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Decreased fetal movement (i.e. less than 6 baby movements in 2 hours).
- Increased blood pressure and/or headache, vision changes, upper right abdomen pain.
- You are no longer comfortable coping at home.
If you are healthy with an uncomplicated “normal” pregnancy, it is usually safe to be at home (or somewhere comfortable) during early labour (after 37 weeks pregnant). Research suggests it is better not to be admitted to hospital too early. While you are in the comfort of your home, you may nap, have a bath or shower, take a walk, etc. There is no right or wrong way to cope in early labour.
Obstetrical Triage (triage) is located within the Childbirth program on the 4th floor D-wing at GRH. Triage service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. NOTE: If you are more than 20 weeks pregnant, you do not have to wait in line in the Emergency Department nor do you need to go to Patient Registration on the 2nd floor. Come directly to 4D.
Patients who come to the Childbirth floor will be assessed in Triage first unless birth is imminent. Triage allows your healthcare team to determine the urgency and type of the care you and your baby need. In triage, a nurse will assess you and your baby. The nurse will speak with the doctor most responsible for your pregnancy. This may be your family doctor or the Obstetrician on call. If everything is okay, the nurse may send you home without the doctor coming to see you. If you are uncomfortable with the advice or plan of care, you may wait to see the doctor before you go home. If you plan to have a midwife deliver your baby, please call your midwife before coming to the hospital – they will assist you if deciding if you need to go to hospital
You can register for your triage visit directly when you arrive. If you have a health card, please bring your health card with you to every visit.
Having a baby at GRH
You will be admitted to the childbirth unit to have your baby when:
- you are in active labour;
- there are concerns that make it safer for you to stay in hospital;
- you are having a scheduled Caesarean section; or
- you are having an induction of labour (ie. labour is started artificially in the hospital).
Every patient giving birth vaginally at GRH will labour and give birth in one of our specially equipped private birthing rooms. Patients having a Caesarean section will have surgery in a private operating room.