4 Things To Expect From Your Visit To Triage

triage_featured
Image via Flickr/ Daquella manera

If you're currently pregnant, chances are, sooner or later, you will be paying a visit to the triage department of your local labor and delivery ward. 

Whether you're heading into the hospital because you're actually in labor or just for testing, your journey to motherhood will begin in a simple room known as the “triage room.” And triage, of course, is just a fancy term that basically means “figuring out where you go.” Pregnant women's symptoms can vary widely in severity and urgency, and triage is meant to be a stomping grounds of sorts before deciding what the next step will be for you. 

{ MORE: Closely Spaced Pregnancies Might Increase Autism Risk }

Here's what you can expect from your visit to triage. 

hosp gown
Image via Flickr/ {Guerrilla Futures | Jason Tester}

Nothing under that hospital gown

You probably expect to change into a hospital gown to be checked out, but no matter what your ailment may be, expect to have to get totally undressed underneath that gown. We're talking undies off, ladies. Most visits to the triage room warrant an automatic check for dilation, among other tests your nurses might need to undertake down there. 

urine sample
Image via Daquella manera

A urine sample

Granted, this may feel no more unexpected than all of those lovely little samples left at your doctor or midwife's office, but this urine test may be a little different. Many hospitals have instituted a mandatory drug screen on all patients who come into triage, so expect that your urine will be screened for recreational and other street drugs. If you have concerns about any prescription medications you are taking, tell the nurse. 

family
Image via Flickr/ emilianohorcada

Only one family member

I can't even count the number of times that an entire family has trudged their way into triage, only to be miffed when I ask everyone except the father or significant other to step out of the room. Many family members are understandably concerned, but the truth is that it is for everyone's safety that most hospitals have a one-visitor-per-triage-patient policy. For one thing, triage rooms are usually pretty small, and it can be hard for hospital staff to work around an entire extended family crammed into one bed. And for another thing, births happen all the time in triage, and trust me, the last thing you want is an unsuspecting grandma to be caught in the middle of a whirlwind and unexpected birth. 

bed
Image via Flickr/ AmberStrocel

Waiting

If you're heading into triage for a non-stress test or perhaps some vague symptoms, like you think you're having contractions, your trip to triage might involve a considerable wait time. 

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That's not to say you won't be taken care of, of course, or that hospital staff aren't taking your concerns and health seriously. But part of the nature of triage is that there is priority placed for the most urgent cases. And in a busy ward like labor and delivery, if you or your baby isn't in any imminent need, you might be pushed to the back of the pregnant pile … for a while. So enjoy that motorized bed while you can, because when you get back home, it's back to insomnia land, my friends. 

{ MORE: I'm Finally Done Having Babies and It Is Such a Relief }

Have you had to pay a visit to triage? 

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What do you think?

4 Things To Expect From Your Visit To Triage

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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4 comments

  1. Rachel says:

    Ive been to triage a lot this pregnancy and Ive had my boyfriend and mom with me. They never said I could only have one person…

  2. Stephanie says:

    I was stuck in triage with painful frequent contractions for almost two hours because my water hadn’t broken so they wanted to make sure it wasn’t false labor. They wouldn’t even give me Tylenol. 🙁 My water didn’t break for four more hours after I was admitted

    • Stephanie says:

      The nurse was actually upset that the resident doctor got me a gown, she wanted me to stay in my own clothes until she was sure, but I was bleeding so I was like “um, no the gown is cool”

  3. mommy nhoj says:

    Hmmm… I never went to triage for labor. But I was in similar situation when I had some spotting. I was at the OB GYNe complex, observed for 2 hours, done nonstress test, bloodwork up, urine, monitoring fetal kick, etc. The word in labor made me sort of panic! I never knew what and how was it, not in my last pregnancy

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