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Top tips for labour and birth

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Pregnancy & First Days Labour and birth

When the time comes to meet your new baby (or babies, if you're expecting twins or more), it's totally natural to feel a bit nervous about it. So try not to worry – we’re here to share all the useful stuff we’ve learned through experience. It’s completely normal to feel a little scared, but just remember there’s lots of help around you.

Ready Steady Baby from NHS Inform is also a great source of information on pregnancy, labour and birth, and can help you prepare for the big day.

Top labour and birth tips from parents

What the parents say

"At first it’s a little bit daunting, you’re like oh my god this baby’s here, but it’s amazing to see the wee person that’s been in your tummy for 9 months."

Lisa, Mum of 2

"[The] cooling mist, that you get from Boots and places like that…It just kinda refreshed you, because like the labour ward is so hot, so it’s just quite refreshing."

Erin, Mum of 1


What the professionals say

"Our bodies know what they’re doing, even if we think they don’t! When you’re relaxed during labour, there are birth hormones that make your womb contract and make your body produce natural pain relief. If you get scared, another hormone - adrenaline - stops your natural pain relief hormones and slows contractions down. Before the birth, try and think about what will keep you calm and relaxed. It might help you have a quicker and less painful birth, with less chance of needing intervention."

Gem Nealon, Midwife, Positive Birth Scotland

"Some mums like to take music in, so you can take your iPod or phone and have special tracks that you want to listen to."

Pamela Murray, Family Nurse Partnership Supervisor

"When you’ve just had a baby there are things you want to be able to say you want, but find it difficult to because you are maybe feeling a little emotional or stressed so your partner can speak up for you and I think that is really important to have someone who knows your views about things."

Val Alexander, Family Nurse Partnership Supervisor

"The best advice I can give is that expectant mums should be prepared to be slightly more flexible with their birth plan if complications arise, or if your chosen hospital doesn't have all the facilities you want. At the end of the day the most important thing is getting baby out safely so it's important to remember that and listen to midwife and doctor’s advice."

Caroline Holde, Family Nurse

More information

For more information on going into labour and giving birth, speak to your midwife. There’s also a lot of useful information at Ready Steady Baby. If you're expecting twins, triplets or more, the Twins Trust offers advice and support.

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Last updated: 23 Nov, 2023