When to call your midwife is definitely an important question to have answered before your labor starts.
I’m going to give you a few pointers based on what I have learned so far as a Student Midwife, but ALWAYS ask your Midwife any questions that you have, that is why you hired them.
Despite what the movies show, labor rarely just starts by your water breaking. You usually, not always but usually, start having very small contractions that get more intense over a couple days time. If you can walk through, talk through, and sleep through your contractions, you definitely have time and can hold off on calling your Midwife. Most Midwives tell you that if you can sleep through your contractions DO IT, because you are going to work harder than you have ever had to work before. If possible, don’t tell anyone when you think you are starting to have contractions because people tend to create too much excitement which may lead to causing things to slow down and maybe stop completely. The best atmosphere to be in during any stage of labor is a calm, peaceful, and stress free environment. I would say, make the first call to your Midwife when your contractions are strong, lasting about 1 minute, and are about 5 minutes apart, for more than an hour. At this point you most likely have a lot of time before your Midwife needs to show up but, its nice to give a heads up so they can plan their day accordingly. Your Midwife will want to listen to you over the phone going through a contraction, they can usually tell how intense they are by the way you cope with the contraction and will be able to decide whether or not you will need them soon.
If your water breaks, you most DEFINITELY need to call your Midwife! They will want to know about how much fluid there was, the color and smell of the fluid, and whether or not you can still feel the movement of your baby. What a lot of women don’t know is that it is very easy to mistake your water breaking for a little gush of urine. Your baby is sitting right on your bladder so any little movement from them at this point can squeeze out a little urine, no problem. The easiest way to check if it is urine or if it was a rupture of your membranes: Lay down for several minutes, if you get up and there is no gush of fluid it was most likely just a little urine leak, if there is another gush of fluid its very likely your membranes have ruptured and you need to call your Midwife.
*Again unlike the scenes they show on the movies and TV, rupture of membranes does NOT mean that you are in active labor. You could still have hours to go after your water breaks, so your Midwife does not necessarily need to come right away. If everything is going well, you feel good, you can still feel baby moving, your Midwife says everything is good and normal based on the information you give, then you can just relax as much as possible and rest up for when things get much more intense.
Call your Midwife again when you are almost to the point where you cannot talk through your contractions and they feel almost unbearable. That’s a good sign things are progressing. Again, your Midwife will be able to make a good decision on the next steps to take based on how you sound over the phone.
You should ALWAYS call if any of these occur:
*You have a fever
*The familiar movement of your baby has changed
*You have any vaginal bleeding
*A contraction comes but does not go away
*You have back pain
*You experience very soft bowel movements or diarrhea
*You feel or see anything coming out of your vagina
Always keep in mind, you were made to give birth! Trust your body and listen to it!
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed on my blog are based on my own thoughts, knowledge, and experiences. Please keep in mind that I am not a Doctor, Midwife, or other health professional so please consult the appropriate professional before making any changes to your health or other applicable areas. You should always do what is right for your body.