When Labor Begins

Frequently asked questions

In addition to the information on this page, we have answered ten common questions for expectant mothers. Please visit our FAQ page about the start of labor.

When to Contact Us

With your due date approaching, it’s important to know when to contact us. You should call us if you experience any of the following:

Regular Uterine Contractions

Contractions of the uterus are usually the first sign of labor. Contractions feel like menstrual cramps, with pressure or pain in the lower abdomen or back occurring at regular intervals. By resting your hands on your belly, you can feel the uterus tightening and getting hard during a contraction. Remember that a normal labor typically lasts 12-24 hours. For a healthy patient with no complications, it is generally more comfortable to spend the early part of labor at home. When contractions are 3-5 minutes apart or less, lasting 60 seconds or longer and you cannot comfortably speak or walk during a contraction, you should call us. Obviously, if you have a history of a previous rapid labor, you’ll need to call us sooner.

Your Water Breaks

In some women, labor begins with fluid leaking out of the sac surrounding the baby—their “water breaks” (technically called “rupture of the membranes”). This may occur with an impressive gush or may be a steady leak that repeatedly soaks your underwear. In most cases, contractions begin within a few hours of rupture of the membranes. If you think you’re leaking fluid, call us immediately. We may ask you to be evaluated in the hospital or to wait to be evaluated in the office. Be sure to note whether the fluid is clear, or colored yellow or green when you call.

Insufficient Fetal Movement

Babies are usually less active in the last few weeks of pregnancy. If you feel that the baby is not active enough, place yourself in a quiet room without distractions (no television or cell phone) and rest both hands on your abdomen. You should feel the baby move at least six times over the course of an hour. If the baby does not move or if movements are noticeably decreased, do not worry-healthy babies normally have sleepy times during which they are less active. Call the office or the on-call service and explain to the obstetrician what is going on.


Prior to the onset of labor, most women will pass a brown, sticky substance called the mucous plug. This is completely normal, so do not be alarmed. Once contractions begin, a small amount of bleeding from the dilating cervix is also normal. The bleeding should at all times be lighter than a period. If your bleeding is heavier than this, contact us.

Contacting the Answering Service

To reach us, call the same number you use to schedule appointments. After hours, the phones are attended by an answering service that will take your message and immediately contact the physician on call. We will call you back to get some information and give you instructions. Please, ALWAYS contact us before leaving for the hospital; the number for the answering service is 516-692-3738.

Once you have the on-call doctor paged, you should expect to get a call back within 15 minutes. Occasionally, we cannot call back immediately because we are tied up in the labor room or operating room. If you don’t hear from us within 15 minutes, kindly call the answering service again. In the rare event that you are unable to contact the physician on call, or the situation requires an emergency response, you should proceed directly to the Long Island Jewish/Katz Women’s Hospital located on Lakeville Road in Lake Success. If you have caller ID, you must disengage it to allow us to call back.

Most women are somewhat anxious about labor and delivery. If you have questions or concerns and are wondering whether you should call us, you probably should. Remember: We are here to help.

Directions to Long Island Jewish Hospital

Our practice is affiliated with Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Katz Women’s Hospital, which is located near the Queens/Nassau border, just south of the Grand Central/Northern State and Long Island Expressway. The hospital is easily reached by car or bus. The address is:

270-05 76th Avenue
New Hyde Park, NY 11040

Print out directions to the hospital

You may wish to make a “trial run” during your last trimester if you are not familiar with the location of the hospital.

To speed up your admission, you can fill out the Maternity Pre-Admission Form.

On-Call Coverage

Although we personally attend to most of our patients, we work with a team of other Board-certified OB-GYNs at the LIJ/Katz Women’s Hospital. We know each of these physicians personally, and have chosen our team based on their skill, experience, and like-minded management of patients. Members of our team include:

  • Milagros Diaz, M.D. F.A.C.O.G.
  • Emmanuel “Manny” Pafos, M.D. F.A.C.O.G.
  • Anita Martin, M.D. F.A.C.O.G.

We have worked closely with this team for many years, and we have confidence not only in their clinical skills but in their people skills. Rest assured that they will work hard to make your labor and delivery experience as joyful and comfortable as possible.

May We Help You?

Would you like to find out more about our treatments and services? Are you looking for a second opinion on a diagnosis or treatment recommendation you received at another practice? The experienced team at The Woman’s Health Pavilion is happy to help. Just let us know how and when you would like to hear from us.

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