Skip to main content

Visit our coronavirus hub for information and advice.

Top tips for labour and birth

Reading time: 0-15 minutes

After a long 40 weeks or so, the time has finally come to meet your new baby. If you’re feeling a bit wobbly about it, don’t worry - we’ve all been there, and 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.

Top labour and birth tips from parents

Tip #1: Kelly's advice

Tip #1: Kelly's advice

Tip #1: Kelly's advice

"I was googling and stuff, just don’t do that. Try and not listen to anyone’s bad stories about labour and stuff because everybody’s different….just have faith in your body that you can give birth and if you need medication during labour then that’s fine. Just try your best to relax and just don’t expect anything, just go into it with an open mind I would say."

Kellie, Mum of 1

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #2: Lisa's advice

"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

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #3: Erin's advice

"[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

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #4: Ask your midwife

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

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #5: 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.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #6: 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.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #7: 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.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #8: 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!

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #9: 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.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #10: 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.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #11: 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.

Loved it? Let us know!

Tip #12: Tip for Dads

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.

Loved it? Let us know!

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.

This article was created as part of

Last updated: 28 Jan, 2021