Hesperian Health Guides

When to go to the birth

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HealthWiki > A Book for Midwives > Chapter 9: Getting ready for labor and birth > When to go to the birth


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You should go to the mother when any of these things happen:

  • labor contractions begin
  • the bag of waters breaks
  • the mother feels she needs you


If you go to a birth and find the mother is in very early labor (and you live nearby), it is usually OK to go home for a while. Ask the mother to call for you when labor gets stronger. But before leaving, consider these questions:

  • Is this a first baby? Labor is usually longer for a first baby.
  • Were the woman’s past births fast or slow? If a past birth was fast, she may have an even faster birth this time.
  • How far away is medical help?