Guide to labour

Hormones in labour

Hormones play an important role in all stages of labour and birth. Here we discuss the impact they have in terms of pain relief and other physical and emotional changes.

Early signs of labour

Discover the early signs of labour, such as Braxton Hicks contractions and mucus plug discharge. Read about symptoms, preparing for birth and when to call your midwife.

First stage of labour

What happens in the first stage of labour? Here we look at what happens with contractions and cervix dilation in early labour.

pregnant woman and partner

Second stage of labour

Read about the second stage of labour, including birthing positions, your cervix being fully dilated at 10cm, your baby ‘bearing down’ and what to do in prolonged labour.

Third stage of labour

The third stage of labour is when you deliver your placenta after the birth of your baby and the umbilical cord is clamped. You may also experience some bleeding.

What happens after your baby is born?

The first hour after delivery of the placenta is known as the fourth stage of labour. We discuss benefits of skin to skin contact after birth and supplementary vitamin k.

Episiotomy or tear during childbirth

Having an episiotomy or suffering a tear during childbirth is common. Find out what the difference is between the two as well as the types of episiotomy and tears you might experience.

Woman looking at clock

Overdue baby - what happens if my baby is late?

Many mums hope for a birth on or around their baby’s due date. Find out what happens if your baby is late or overdue and about the induction of labour