Local Maternity System

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Labour and birth

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:Active birth - Labour and birth

  • 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.

2019-07-03 (7)

Your baby is now officially an embryo and is about the size of a poppy seed.

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/4-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (4)

Your baby is now the size of a kidney bean and weighs 1g. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/8-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (6)

Welcome to the second trimester!

Your baby is about the size of a small lime and weighs approximately 14g.

You have hopefully seen your midwife for your 'booking in' appointment, if you have not yet seen a midwife please make an appointment quickly, so you can have all of your choices about screening tests explained and offered to you.

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/12-weeks-pregnant/ for more information. You can also link to the 'Pregnancy Journey' area here.  


Your baby is about the size of an avocado and weighs approximately 100g. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/16-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (2)

Your baby has grown in length and is now the length of a small banana and weighs approximately 300g. Around this time you will be offered your '20 week' scan, also known as the 'anatomy' or 'anomaly' scan.Click here for more information about screening. 

This is a also a good time to talk and sing to your bump as your baby can now hear sounds. This is great way for you and your partner/family to bond with your baby.

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/20-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (8)

Your baby has grown again to the approximate length of an ear of sweetcorn and weighs about 600g. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/24-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (1)

Welcome to the third trimester!

Your baby is now approximately the weight of an aubergine; about 1kg and approximately 37cm in length. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/28-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (3)

Your baby now weighs approximately the same as a coconut; around 1.5kg. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/32-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (5)

Your baby is now around the same size as a lettuce, approximately 47cm long and weighs around 2.6kg. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/36-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (9)

Your baby is now the weight of a small watermelon which is approximately 3.3kg and around 50cm in length. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/40-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.