Going to the hospital or birth centre

Others advices Preparing for baby's arrival


It is time for you to go to the hospital or birth centre. It is important that you know how to detect the warning signs of baby’s impending arrival to avoid arriving either too early (midwives may ask you to go home) or arriving too late (labour in progress). Plan ahead in preparing your suitcase for you and baby to take this moment in your stride.


When should I go to the hospital or birth centre?

If your waters break:
The breaking of the amniotic sac is manifested by repeated and uncontrollable loss of fluid. This flow may be minimal if there is a rupture in the amniotic sac, but will be repeated several times intermittently. Use a sanitary towel and do not take a bath.
Consult quickly:

  • If the loss of water is associated with contractions because the labour may accelerate,
  • If the fluid is tinted green (it indicates that baby has passed meconium in utero). You thus need to monitor his well-being in hospital.


If you have regular and painful uterine contractions:
Located in the lower abdomen or back, these contractions will monopolise all your attention and may even prevent you from speaking. They may be associated with loss of the cervical mucus plug (thick mucus tinged with blood indicating a change in the cervix).

  • If this is your first baby:
    Go to the hospital or birth centre when contractions are regular, painful and 5 minutes apart for 2 hours. It is important to wait at home to achieve a sufficient dilation to benefit from the epidural.
  • If this is your second baby or more:
    Take into account the length of your first birth. Go to the hospital or birth centre when contractions are regular and painful every 10 minutes for one hour. Remember to ensure there is someone to take care of your older children.
    Also, do not hesitate to go to the maternity ward urgently if you have a bloody discharge, if you have a fever (temperature> 38 ° C) or if baby has been moving less for 12 hours.

Preparing your maternity suitcase :

To go to the hospital or birth centre, you can start preparing your suitcases at the beginning of the ninth month. In case of a pregnancy at risk, do it as soon as you feel ready for peace of mind.

The medical and administrative file:

check_03Pregnancy medical record, blood tests, health Insurance card (Carte Vitale), private insurance card, family record book, declaration of the birth form, identification papers Basic essentials for mum:

check_032 or 3 nightdresses or pairs of pyjamas (with an opening in front if you are breastfeeding)

check_032 or 3 homewear outfits (loose and comfortable clothing, or even your maternity clothes)

check_031 pair of slippers

check_03Vanity case with essential toiletries (soap, shampoo, gel for intimate hygiene, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, etc.)

check_031 hair dryer

check_032 towels

check_031 mister to refresh yourself during labour

check_032 packs of disposable panties (around 10 pairs)

check_031 packet of thick sanitary towels and a packet of normal thin sanitary towels (avoid towels with « cells » that can irritate after childbirth).

check_03If you are breastfeeding, plan 2 nursing bras in cotton (cup size one size above breast size in late pregnancy), 1 nursing pillow, 1 box of breast pads, 1 breastfeeding balm, nipple protectors.

check_031 stretch marks cream

Basic essentials for baby:

check_036 vests or bodysuits

check_036 pairs of pyjamas or outfits

check_031 woollen cardigan

check_031 sleeping bag

check_03Slippers and socks

check_031 warm and soft blanket


Generally, samples of hair and body washing gel are provided for the baths in the hospital.
Remember to have a car seat or carrycot for when you go home. Practice fixing it in your car in late pregnancy.

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