Can I Make It to a Hospital 1Hr and 26Mins Away When I Go into Labor?

Updated on February 08, 2011
S.2. asks from Bakersfield, CA
35 answers

This is my 1st pregnancy and I'm 1hr away from the nearest Kaiser hospital. I have no idea how contractions work. I know everyones different but I also know that I probably won't deliver within the 1st hour of feeling contractions. But will I make it a whole hour? With my boyfriend who's a smoker? I jus don't know if I can make it to the hospital! Trying to figure out what I can do since after 37 weeks she could come at anytime. If we get a hotel the day before my due date what if she doesn't come till a week after?
I appreciate any advice from someone who's done this before.
Thanks gals

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So What Happened?

What would I do without this board and all of you willing to take the time to offer your opinions and advice!
After visiting the doctors office that was an hour away I hated the doctor and decided I'd return to my hometown to have my child.
Thank you Thank you Thank you all!

More Answers



answers from Portland on

Nobody can give you any guarantees, S.. But most labors, especially the first, last at least a few hours. Traveling while in labor can be pretty uncomfortable, but is doable.

If push comes to shove, you can also call for an ambulance. EMT's generally have enough experience to safely deliver babies on site or on the way to the hospital, if necessary.

Congratulations. I hope all goes well. (And, as a lifelong asthma sufferer, I hope your boyfriend realizes how harmful side-stream smoke and smoke residues can be to children.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

You will probably be fine. With my first three I was about 1/2 hr from the hospital, got there in plenty of time and spent hours in hospital that would have been a lot more comfortable at home (there's no way to gauge how you're progressing from home, unless you or bf want to do an exam, lol). With my fourth I was 1.5 hrs from the hospital, and waited a lot longer to go because I didn't want to spend a whole lot of time in the hospital, we got to the hospital in time but were only at there about 1/2 hr before I gave birth, which was a bit rushed :)
Statistically speaking, very few people have too little time to make it to the hospital.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

No one can promise anything, but I lived that far from the hospital with both of my pregnancies and no one thought it was a concern.

I would not spend the money on a hotel at all. Just plan to leave for the hospital when the contractions are regular and maybe just short of 5 minutes apart. If the hospital wants to send you home for false labor, be sure to tell them how far away you live (my water broke, and they thought about sending me home, but I ended up being induced because if I didn't start contractions naturally within a couple of hours I would have had to be induced anyway, and I didn't want to spend those couple of hours driving home and driving back to the hospital).

Unless you're one of the lucky ones, odds are good that your first labor will be long, so an hour and a quarter will only be a small fraction of it : ) Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Stockton on

Hire a midwife if you're rich. Otherwise - tell your OBGYN that you live so far so they can help you come up with a plan. I have Kaiser too and live 40 minutes away from the delivery hospital. We drove out there twice to determine the best route because we live in a rural area and there are a LOT of potholes that are hell when you're in labor! My Dr. told me to call in when my contractions were 5 minutes apart instead of the usual 2 minutes and start heading towards the hospital because it's far and over winding country roads to boot.
The great thing about Kaiser is you can call an advice nurse anytime 24-7 with questions and concerns. I called when I was in labor and called back every hour with an update all day - it really helped me feel calm until my hubby could get home ( 2 hour commute from work). I went to a friend's house with my son because I was afraid to be in labor with just a 5 year old at home. My friend had 2 kids so she was an old pro in my eyes. My firstborn was a preemie and I was induced so natural labor was new to me and I was nervous.
Contractions hurt like the worst menstrual cramps you've ever had and you won't confuse them for anything else.
Also, if your water breaks or something else urgent happens, you CAN deliver in a non-Kaiser facility and Kaiser will cover the cost of the ambulance minus your deductible - i.e. mine is $100. Kaiser has aggreements with other facilities for emergencies - so call and ask where you can go before you are in labor and freaked out.
Call Member Services to figure out what your costs will be in advance so you won't be so worried. Have a friend or neighbor sign up to come over and help you when you go into labor if your BF is at work etc. it'll give you peace of mind.
Hang in there - you're in the home stretch - and the 2-4 LONGEST weeks of your life!! ;)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Every experience is different, but a typical first labor is very, very long (think in terms of parts of days - 8 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours). And overdue - the average length of first pregnancy for a Caucasian, American woman a few years ago was 41 weeks and 1 day, or 8 days "overdue." How was/were your mother's birth experience(s)? If you tend to be built like your mother and your pregnancy has been similar to hers (or a sister, if you have any who have given birth) that might clue you into whether you'll have the typical first delivery - which has a pretty leisurely pace - or something much more rapid, which certainly happens but is pretty rare.

If I were a betting woman, I bet you'll be just fine. I'm an hour away from my hospital - more with rush hour - and even with my shortest labor (5.5 hours from first contraction to delivery) we got there in plenty of time to get an epidural in place and get settled before pushing. As you get closer to delivery, your doctor will also be able to tell you how close s/he thinks you are to delivery at each appointment, and there are other physical signs that kick in a day or two in advance that are pretty strong clues that the big day is coming. Chances are, you'll rush to the hospital in a tizzy when you feel the first "real" contractions, find out that you're like 2 cm dilated and barely effaced and walk around bored to death for many, many hours (or be sent home - that happened with my first) before things really get going.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

All labors are different so it would be hard to predict. Chances are that you will have plenty of time and a long uncomfortable drive :) Ask your doc what he/she thinks.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

It took me 36 hours from 1st labor pain to delivery of my son.
I was my Mom's first and she was 36 hours with me.
My sister only took my Mom 6 hours.
How long did it take your mother with her first?
Generally most women the first time through will take a long time.
There are exceptions. In which case the local fire dept / EMT's can help.
Don't worry. Just have a small bag packed and ready to go.
You'll be fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Babies come on their own time frame. Due dates are really just educated guesses. You will probably be less stressed if you are closer to the hospital.
You can always cancel the hotel after the first night if need be. Ask you doctor. And as for the smoker, you already know you don't want to breathe second-hand smoke as a pregnant woman for 1 minute let alone 1 hour. Good luck:)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Hire a midwife and stay at home and have the baby. It is safer and healthier for you and the baby and it is also much much safer if your baby does come fast, rather than speeding 100mph down the road.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from La Crosse on

I was 3 1/2 hours away from my hospital the entire time I was pregnant (first time)...and arrived with HOURS to spare. Don't waste the money on a will be fine!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Johnstown on

That answer can honestly not be answered. It depends on how rapidly your labor progresses. I had to be induced both times, so I was already at the hospital. My sister never experienced a contraction until her water broke and my nephew was here in 15 mins after that. Every labor experience is different.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Ya you can make it. My hospital was in NYC and I live 45 min away. I went to the hospital at 5 pm on a thursday afternoon- in the middle of rush hour traffic. It took a little over an hour. Especially since this is your 1st you should have plenty of time to make it there. Congrats and good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Terre Haute on

I was an hour away from the hospital with my first as well. I'm sure others have mentioned these things, but I will tell you what I planned.

I made sure we knew all sorts of ways to get to the hospital. We drove several ways beforehand so my husband knew the ways. I wanted to stay off of the interstate, but since I went into labor at 2AM I said OK to the interstate. We made sure we had a GPS system with the most up-to-date maps in it to take with us. We also made sure we knew (and mapped) where other hospitals were along the way.

My little girl was almost 2 weeks late, and I KNOW her due date was correct because I know when I got pregnant due to using an ovulation meter. There is just no telling a baby when to make his or her appearance!! Good luck, and enjoy this experience!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

It just depends on your body and how it will labor. I did deliver within the first hr of feeling contractions.
I drove myself to a hospital 20 minutes away when I thought my water broke because I saw blood, but I had no contractions. My contractions didn't start until I was on the road driving. By the time I got to our hosp. I was dilated and ready to push.
Everyone labors differently. What I would do is call your insurance and ask what if you don't make it to a kaiser hospital. In my old hometown we had a local hospital that had a contract with kaiser and could accept their patients but the nearest real Kaiser hospital was a few cities over. If they don't have another hospital closer that will accept kaiser patients you need to ask what YOUR cost will be for delivering at an out of network hospital.
Good Luck!!! and Congrats on your baby! =)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Topeka on

Typically yes you will have time to make it to the hospital if your water breaks drop everything & go,the easiest way I can put contractions is if your your unable to sit, stand or walk & the only thing you can do for comfort is rock it is time even if your water hasn't broken yet.Also driving in a car & contractions don't go well together it is very uncomfortable I would sit in the back seat with a pillow & blanket.Just seen he is a smoker don't allow him to smoke it can make you sick if you don't like the smell while in labor,also not good for baby & you



answers from Sacramento on

I wouldn't worry too much. Chance are, you'll have plenty of time to get there.

What I would do now is look at maps online and figure out other hospitals along your route. Worst case, pull off and deliver at a non-Kaiser hospital. Kaiser will cover the costs at a hospital outside of their system if you don't have an option nearby when you need it. My brother was attacked by some thugs years ago and ended up in the trauma unit at a non-Kaiser hospital and there were just forms to fill out and Kaiser took care of the rest (minus the usual copays, of course). Kaiser is really good about keeping all of this streamlined, so it won't be a complicated ordeal.



answers from Boise on

I didnt realize I was in labor until about 7 hours into it- I was "'clearing my bowels" so to speak, and cramping (in what i thought was my intestines) for seven hours. Once I realized I was in labor and they were coming at regular intervals, we started timing the contractions, and it was STILL another several hours before i went to the hospital, and another several hours in the hospital in labor. I was in labor for 36 hours total. so yeah, you should have plenty of time.

With my second it was 16 hours and with my third it was 9 hours.



answers from Amarillo on

Most are right that it will take time to deliver. I wasn't one of those. In fact I went into labor the night before and didn't know it. The next day I was scheduled for a visit so we went with a packed bag. Dr. checked and was going to send me home but hubby said to check and I had dialated to 5cm so he called across the street for a bed and planned to break my water in about an hour. Water broke, labor started at 1and 1/2 minutes and down to 1/2 minute within an hour and I delivered about 2 hours later and she was my first.

So do check with your doctor for advice and go from there. If you would feel more comfortable than get a midwife as a backup.

The best to you.

The other S.



answers from Boston on

You should have plenty of time to make it there. Worst case scenario is you call for an emt while driving

Edited: your boyfriend should not be smoking anywhere near you and if he can't go an hour drive without smoking he is very selfish and not the type of man I would want to be with!



answers from Chicago on

You can probably make it, but I recall with my first the 20 minutes to the hospital was a long trip - you just want to get there. You'll know what I mean soon enough. I wouldn't worry about making it in time though, I'm sure you will, as long as you don't wait until the last moment to leave the house. Don't get a hotel, chances of the baby coming on the actual due date are slim. Good luck!


answers from Raleigh on

It's a hard question to answer, but chances are (and again, these are just pretty good chances) that you would have plenty of time to get to the hospital, especially because this is baby number 1. It is possible to have a scenario like the one below, but those are few and far between. Far more likely is the chance that you could be in labor for 12 plus hours before being ready to push. Talk to your doctor, but I really wouldn't be too worried about it.

P.S. The only other thing you could do is look in to staying a Residence Inn type place. They have weekly rates when you stay (they aren't terribly cheap, but it usually is less than a hotel) and they have full kitchens, so once there, you could cook meals for yourselves. Good luck!



answers from San Francisco on

Looks like you have great answers below. Here would be my summary tips:
(1) Confirm with Kaiser what they've cover -- other nearby hospitals, ambulance, etc. This will help give you peace of mind of what should be the plan on the big day.
(2) Don't plan on your due date being correct. Some people go early. Some on time. Some late. There isn't really any way to know because you could seem like you're not progressing at all at your doctor on a Wed and then things could change overnight.
(3) If your water breaks, go to the hospital. Even if you don't dialate fast, they are going to want to watch you for infection and monitor the baby.
(4) Labor on the first can be any speed. I was 40 weeks with zero labor pains until my water broke. I was fully dialated and pushing 4 hours later. So if you get to 5 min between the START of each pain, probably head to the hospital. And you won't be able to drive yourself. Surely your boyfriend can abstain from a cigarette for the 1 hour drive.


answers from Tampa on

Labor usually takes about 12 - 32 hours to fully dilate. Contractions can start anytime in that time frame. If you are so far from the hospital - why not look into having a Midwife come to your home? One of the most FAMOUS Midwives in the USA is based in TN... "The Farm" in Summerside.



answers from San Diego on

I wouldn't risk it. My first caught was almost born in the car on the way. Yes most first labors take awhile but what if u were the exception like I was. Not sure what the statement my boyfriend smokes has to do with that question though. Make sure he changes all if his clothes before holding baby. Good luck!



answers from Honolulu on

Sadly the 1st time you go into labor it usually takes 10 plus hours to give birth. So 1 or 2 hours away *should* be ok, *if* everything is normal. Now if there is distress or you are high risk... well, that is too far away.

You could schedule to be induce after your due date to be on the safe side. It is what I did with my 1st. Being induced adds risks of complications (low, but still there) and adds to the chance of c-section (again low... but still there). It also is ALOT more painful to be induced, so if all natural was your plan... well don't expect it. Also remember that they can give you narcotics in your IV even after you are too far along for the epidural. If baby is doing poorly it will hurt baby's heart beat but it is ok for baby (yes the drugs will effect baby, but not forever!)



answers from Anchorage on

You should have plenty of time. I would not do the hotel room because your due date is just that, a date, and does not mean the baby will come. Both of mine came at 42 weeks. Just make sure to watch your progress. Talk with your doctor about when he or she thinks would be the right time to head in based on your amount of pre-labor dilation. My guess would be to head to the hospital when you are about 5 - 8 minutes apart.



answers from Jacksonville on

I had contractions the entire day before my daughter was born....even went in 7 hours before she was born only to be sent home....I knew she was coming and I should have pushed to stay....I didn't.......I went home and went back in a few hours later when I awoke in pain/pressure from the contractions and the urge to push.....It was a 10 minute drive.....She was born an hour after I got to the hospital........Just pay attention to your body...If your water breaks (mine didn't), go asap and if you feel heavy contractions that are close, go and get checked out.......I wouldn't camp out just because you have a due date...My daughter was born a week before her due date and many of my friends have gone up to two weeks after their dates......Talk it over with your doctor and voice your concerns and ask them what a good game plan would be....Also think the suggestion to call for an EMT should you feel the baby is definitely coming and you cannot make it is a good idea.



answers from San Francisco on

S., as the mother of 5 let me say that although smoking is bad for you and the baby it won't delay getting you to the hospital. I can bet you have lots of advice to make him want to stop but if the baby isn't enough then he won't. As for me I was an hour away from the hospital for some of mine but baby's have a way of coming when they want ans where. Remember the "duedate" is an estimated date and my husband laughed when I thought we were having our 3rd child on time since it was #3 and he was 2 weeks later! You will see your obgyn doctor often the last part of the pregnancy so you will get a better picture of how things will go..
The first time for things can be scarey but this is only the first of many excitements to come with raising a child. Good Luck



answers from New York on

The best advice I received was from my mom. She said for me to go to the hospital after I had a bloody showing. Please don't wait until your water breaks that may be too late. My son was born c-section 1 hour after my water broke but I only had 5 hours of labor. Time your contractions too. Don't worry you will be just fine.


answers from Lansing on

I agree with Grandma T. Ask your doctor what they think.

The hospital that I delivered my daughter at was 25 minutes away from my house. After going into mild labor, and them sending me home 3 different times, the 4th time they finally kept me and my daughter was born 25 minutes after they broke my water. I was only in hard labor for 10-15 minutes too. None of the nurses or even the doctor that delivered her could believe that was my first child. She said my labor and delivery was totally out of the ordinary for a first time mom. Heck, my doctor was almost late, and got there on the last 3 pushes.


answers from Spokane on

Unless your family has a history of super fast births, you should be fine, luv. :) Just make sure you have your bags packed & ready to go so you aren't running around doing it at the last minute like I was with my second. I hadn't packed the stuff because the little bugger was a week early and I was going to my mothers in 2 days (yes, I procrastinated). The hospital was 1 1/2 hours away, and he showed up 3 hours after I arrived. I'd gone into labor the night before but I was hoping it wasn't so I ignored stuff until I was around 8-10 min apart. Like I said, plan for all contingencies such as bags packed, who will drive you if your boyfriend can't, etc. You doc will let you know if you have a possibility of delivering early or if medical problems arise that would make it better to stay closer. But a healthy normal pregnancy on a first time mom, you should have no problem.

Just, whatever you do, don't take a super hot bath, especially if you know you're in labor or even suspect that you are! That could boost you into full hard labor and you may not make it. I managed to do that with my first (neither my mother or grandmother (an RN) realized I was in labor and of course I didn't know any better) so I did the bath because my back was uncomfortable. We had a 40 min drive to the hospital and he'd arrived 5 hours later before the isolet was even completely warm because the nurse thought I'd be there all night and hadn't turned it on right away. It only took that long because they slowed things down with medication.

Congratulations on you little one. :)


answers from Jacksonville on

I'm in the camp of those that say, don't bother with a hotel room. My labor was statistically speaking, long... even compared to the rates in the previous post (Caucasion American first birth)... He didn't arrive until 41 weeks 4 days, lol.

BUT, what I would do is try to be very aware (don't work yourself up into a tizzy wondering/worrying) of your physical symptoms. When it gets close to your due date, just be very aware of anything that feels "different" or "off" or if you suddenly have lots of energy one day. My pregnancy plodded on day after day after day... til finally one morning after a few hours (and not much housework, lol) my back just ACHED. Low, like PMS cramps only in my back. I didn't realize it at the time, even though that is listed as a clue in all the pregnancy books, that that was the beginning of active labor for me. I had been dilated several cm for weeks and having mild (but I couldn't feel them at all, only see them on the monitors) contractions for 2 weeks. Then late that morning... back ache.

Late that afternoon, my water ended up breaking and we went to the hospital and he arrived around 2:00 a.m. that night. We lived about 7 minutes from the hospital. I was pretty uncomfortable for the ride... yes, you are supposed to still wear your seatbelt. lol

So just be very AWARE of how you feel, and if something changes from what seems ordinary (even if is seems like it isn't a symptom) then consider driving on in... Being in a car for an hour and a half in labor is NOT high on my list of "fun things to do"...
But also do not waste a lot of $ on a hotel beginning on your due date. You could be there for over a week. And you'd probably be more comfy at HOME anyway.

Good luck. And Congratulations.



answers from San Francisco on

I'm sure the ladies below me have already covered all the main points. Just as an FYI, I'll share with you several surprises I had. I was well before my due date (I subconsciously thought I would somehow know when she was coming... not so much). My water broke before the contractions started, which is not common but happens. Once that thing breaks, it keeps on leaking until you give birth! I don't know why I never thought of that beforehand. In that case, you will have to go straight there and sit on blankets or wear a heavy, overnight pad. Just another thing to consider.



answers from Knoxville on

I was induced with my first, so can't respond to my labor time with him. But, I gave birth to my 2nd child in less than 40 minutes after getting to the hospital (which is only a 15-20 minute drive). I had her less than 2 hours from my first contraction (and I'm talking first sign of a contraction ... not when they are 5 minutes apart and they tell you to go to the hospital). I know that is rare though, because I was told so at the hospital. Best wishes for a safe, healthy delivery in the hospital where you want to be!



answers from Phoenix on

Speaking from personal experience, your a bit far, but it is doable if you watch your progression carefully.

I almost delivered my first baby in the car and I was only 1 hour away.

I didn't want to be one of those first time mommies walking and wandering the hallways. So I thought I'd go in when the contractions were just under 10 minutes apart. That phase never happened for me. My labor started with a huge bang. I felt this incredible 'ping' around my middle, and my contractions were every 2 minutes from then on. I thought there would be time for a shower and a phone call. I tried a shower, but my bowels needed to be evacuated...didn't know much about that part back then. Then when they say contractions are 2 minutes apart...that means they start every 2 minutes. So there was only about 20-30 seconds off between contractions.

By the time I got to the hospital, the babies head was crowning and I couldn't even walk into the ER.

I would recommend you have a back up plan, with a couple of local numbers of neighbors, family or friends who can drop what they are doing and take you if your labor progresses quickly.

I have noticed over the years, that athletic women with good muscle tone who stay very active tend to deliver quicker. Which was definitely my lifestyle then.

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