Skip to main content
Scottish government logo

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.

Jump to a section in this article

Top labour and birth tips from parents

Tip #1: Don't worry

Don’t be afraid of being afraid. It’s normal to fear the unknown, and every experience is different. Keep talking to your midwife and share your thoughts - she’ll want to help.

Read more

Tip #2: Ask your midwife

Never sit and worry. Just ask your midwife any questions you have, whether you’re still pregnant or during labour.

Read more

Tip #3: Talk to your birthing partner

Talk to your birthing partner about how you’re feeling and how you would like them to support you during labour and birth. The more they know in advance, the better they can help.

Read more

Tip #4: Keep an open mind

Keep an open mind, and be open to change. It’s normal for your wants, needs and plans to change during your pregnancy. It’s also completely normal for things to change during the birth itself. So try and stay flexible.

Read more

Tip #5: All hands on deck

Enlist family members to clean the house before you get back from hospital. You might be surprised at how helpful people can be - all you have to do is ask!

Read more

Tip #6: Trust your instincts

When the baby gets here, remember to trust your instincts. You might feel like you’ve a lot to learn, but always remember you know and love your baby best - and your confidence will quickly grow.

Read more

Tip #7: Childminding

If this is not your first child, get friends and family to help with your other little ones, and plan some play dates in advance.

Read more

Tip #8: Remember to eat!

It might sound obvious, but remember to eat! After the birth you will have your hands full with your new baby, but you need to take good care of yourself, too. Friends and family who will bring food round and run messages are worth their weight in gold - but it’s always helpful to prepare a few meals in advance, and have them handy in the freezer ready to heat up.

Read more

Tip #9: Tip for dads and partners

Photo of parents looking at their newborn who is breastfeeding

If you’re a new parent, there are lots of ways you can support mum. Being the main cook, helping with settling the baby and letting your partner get as much rest as possible will really help. Our page on how to support your partner when they’re pregnant has lots of practical tips. You can find more tips on NHS Inform’s Ready Steady Baby website and on the BBC’s Tiny Happy People website.

Our pages on tips for dads and partners-to-be and mental health support for new dads have more advice.

Read more
Back to top

What the parents say

Back to top

"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."

"[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."

What the professionals say

Back to top

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

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.

Back to top

You might also be interested in