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What to do when you go into labour

You are unlikely to mistake the signs of labour when the time comes.  If you are in any doubt, please contact the Triage midwife.

The main signs of labour starting are strong, regular contractions, and a ‘show’ when the plug of mucus sealing your cervix comes away. Other signs that you are going into labour can include your waters breaking, backache, vomiting or nausea and diarrhoea. Later in labour, you may experience an urge to go to the toilet caused by your baby’s head pressing on your bowel.

You will find below some information about items listed below.  This is also available in your handheld maternity record.

Coping at the beginning of labour

The 'show'

Waters breaking

The stages of labour

Coming to the maternity unit

Please ensure that you have transport to get to the hospital and that you have provisions for childcare, both day and night. Here is a short checklist of things you may want to pack:

  • A change of clothes for you and baby
  • Snacks and energy drinks (for you and your birthing partners)
  • Camera
  • Music and some speakers or headphones
  • Your mobile phone and charger
  • Nappies
  • Cotton wools
  • Maternity pads
  • Towels
  • Car seat for your baby

For safety reasons, a maximum of two birthing partners are allowed in birthing areas. We do not allow virth partners to swap due to the busy nature of birthing areas.

If you have to have a birth in theatre, one partner is allowed at the side of the patient most of the time. After birth, mum and baby will be taken to the recovery area where one birthing partner will be allowed, the non swapping policy remains.


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