Here you can find information about labour and birth, as well as information about what maternity services your local hospital provides.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
Please note that there may be changes to the way that your labour and birth is managed as a result of the current restrictions in place.
Currently you may bring one birth partner when you are in labour but no visiting is allowed on the wards. The staff on the wards will be wearing personal protective equipment, this will include a mask, apron and goggles. This is for your and the staffs protection. Do not worry if you see staff dressed like this they will still care for you in labour in the same way.
These necessary changes will be explained to you by your midwife.
Please call the hospital or midwife for advice if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Your waters break
- You have any fresh red vaginal bleeding
- Your baby is not moving as often as usual
- You have strong regular contractions
- You have constant abdominal pain
- You feel unwell or are worried
- You have a known condition for example 'placenta previa'
- Call early if you are not yet 37 weeks' pregnant, it could be premature labour
How will I know I am in labour?
There might be several signs that labour might be starting, they can happen in any order and you may not experience all of them.
As a guide you may have:
- A show; this is a sticky plug of mucus that is a protective layer within your cervix. It is sometimes slightly blood-stained and may come away gradually over more than one day but does not mean labour is imminent. If the blood is red and runny you need to phone for advice.
- Your waters may break; this may be a sudden gush or a trickle over time. Wear a sanitary pad so you are able to monitor it. If it is not clear fluid or has an unpleasant smell phone the hospital for advice. Amniotic fluid is normally a pale straw-coloured fluid. If you are unsure that your waters have broken it is always best to phone for advice.
- You may experience backache or a period-type of pain.
Labour is normally divided up into different stages but everyone is different. Women often ask, 'How will I know I am in labour?'. If you are unsure or worried please phone for advice.