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The Stop Light



Let’s talk about one of my favorite ways to explain why we might transfer to a hospital in labor.

The stop light or flag analogy

Green light - all is well and your pregnancy has been normal and your birth is progressing without complication. There is no reason to transfer.

Yellow light - we yield and consider variations that may increase our risks out of the hospital. Maybe there is meconium in the fluid or there is maternal exhaustion. Under these and similar circumstances, we discuss the benefits of continuous monitoring, NICU capabilities or therapeutic rest and option to transfer. If everyone has stable vital signs, this might even be a situation with on-going discussion of risk and the client chooses what they feel most comfortable with.

Red light - we stop and recommend transfer due to issues that would immediately benefit from hospital technology and resources based on our guidelines. This could be non-reassuring fetal heart tones, infection or extra postpartum bleeding for example. Transfers in this category are more rare.