Birth - frequently asked questions
When do I come to hospital?
Seek advice or come to hospital if:
- Your waters break – put on a sanitary pad, note the time, the colour and amount of water then call your midwife or the hospital.
- Your contractions become painful, regular and are occurring at least five minutes apart (this timing will depend on your personal history, circumstances and will be discussed in your pregnancy).
- Labour has commenced and you have been advised to attend hospital early.
- You are experiencing signs of labour and you have a planned caesarean birth.
- You have a known medical or pregnancy condition that means you will require closer monitoring than usual in labour
- Your baby’s movements have changed, or you are worried about your baby’s movements.
Call ‘000’ for an ambulance if:
- You think your labour is progressing very quickly and you won’t make it to hospital.
- You experience heavy bleeding (similar to first day of a period) or have a severe headache and blurred vision.
In this guide:
- When does labour start?
- When will my waters break?
- How long does labour last?
- What is pre-labour?
- What do contractions feel like?
- How do I time contractions?
- When do I come to hospital?
- What do I bring to hospital?
- What happens when I get to hospital?
- What if my labour is progressing slowly?
- What is the best position for giving birth?
- What is an episiotomy?
- How will my baby be monitored during labour?
- What is a CTG?
- Why do I need internal (vaginal) examinations?
- Can I take my placenta home?
- How do I register my baby’s birth?