Here you can find information about labour and birth, as well as information about what maternity services your local hospital provides.
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.