Guide to labour

Hormones have an important role to play in labour and birth. Here we discuss what changes may affect you.
Here we look at the early signs of labour, such as Braxton Hicks contractions, preparing for birth and when to call your midwife.
What happens in the first stage of labour? Here we look what happens with your contractions and your cervix as well as what you and your partner might be feeling.
Here we look at the second stage of labour including birthing positions, 'bearing down' and prolonged labour. We also discuss how you can cope and feel supported.
The third stage of labour is the time after you have given birth to your baby and during which you deliver the placenta and clamp the umbilical cord.
The first hour following the birth of your baby's placenta is often known as the fourth stage of labour. It is a very special time for you and your baby.
During childbirth many women may either tear or have an episiotomy. This article outlines the difference between a tear and episiotomy.
Many mothers hope for a birth on or around their baby’s due date. Read more about what happens if your baby doesn’t arrive on time, and ways of inducing labour.