Labour & Birth
Learn about our birthing units, which provide family-centered care, and how to prepare and stay comfortable for your labour.
Labour and birth
We provide family-centred care in our hospitals’ labour and birthing units. This means that you, your family and the important people in your life are as welcomed and involved in your care as you wish. Our aim is to support you and your family through a safe and satisfying birthing experience.
- Our birthing units encourage breastfeeding. We support all families to make informed decisions on infant feeding.
- We encourage you to ask questions about your care, the services we offer, and to give us feedback about your experience.
It helps to plan ahead. We suggest that you begin planning for your stay at least four weeks before your due date.
- Talk to your doctor or midwife about your choices and needs.
- Arrange for someone to drive you to the hospital. Map out a route and know other routes as well.
- Pack your suitcase.
- Arrange for a support person to stay with you throughout your labour and hospital stay.
- Discuss the hospital visiting policy with your family and friends. Remember: you need rest; anyone who is sick should not come to see you.
- Have important phone numbers in easy to find places. These include your doctor, midwife, support person, babysitter and the hospital.
- Review information about booking a private or semi-private room.
- Some hospitals recommend preregistering prior to the birth of your baby, please speak to your doctor or midwife
If you choose to have a birth plan, write down your wishes. Sometimes things happen that you cannot control and your plan may have to change. Find a sample template and what to include in your birth plan.
We strive to meet you and your family’s religious, cultural and personal wishes. If you have special needs, talk about these with your doctor or midwife well in advance
There are four stages of labour. Discover what happens and how you might feel during each stage, and what you and your support person can do during these stages. Learn more about the birth stages.
Stay comfortable during Labour
- Change positions often: walk, stand or sit. See more comfort positions.
- Rest or nap
- Take a warm shower or bath
- Read, watch TV or listen to music
- Sit in a rocking chair
- Use a hot water bottle on the back
- Eat a light, easily digested snack
- Drink plenty of fluids
Know about the differences between pre-labour and true labour.
Knowing when to come to the hospital
Talk to your doctor or midwife ahead of time about when is the best time for you to go to the hospital.
Call your doctor, midwife or birthing centre when:
- Your contractions are regular and uncomfortable, usually about 3-5 minutes apart and lasting 45-60 seconds
- Your water breaks or leaks (membranes rupture). You may feel a trickle or a sudden gush. Put on a sanitary pad as your nurse will want to know how much fluid there is and the colour.
- You have vaginal bleeding, or “show” (pink tinged mucous)
- You are uncomfortable staying at home
- You have been advised to call for other reasons
- If you are unsure and/or have concerns.
- You are less than 37 weeks pregnant and you experience contractions every 10 minutes or less
- You feel constant abdominal pain that does not go away
- Your water sac is broken and you develop a fever or if the fluid from your vagina is coloured yellow, green or red
- You have bright red bleeding from your vagina
- Your baby’s movements have slowed down (less than six movements in a two-hour period)
Immediately after birth, or as soon as possible, your baby will be placed on your chest skin-to-skin. Keep your baby skin-to-skin until after the first feed. Learn more about the importance of skin-to-skin.
If your baby needs some extra care adjusting to life, they may be taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Sometimes situations may arise where you and/or your baby need special care and may require transfer to another hospital. Learn about what to expect and how to care for your baby in NICU.
Your body has spent months nurturing and growing your baby. Understand the changes that occur after giving birth:
- Your emotions-Giving birth is an emotional and tiring experience. Your hormones change dramatically in the first few days. Some women get the baby blues and feel weepy around three to five days after giving birth.
- Your breasts-On the third or fourth day, your breasts may be tender because milk is still being produced. Your breasts will continue to change shape until breastfeeding is established.
- Your abdomen-Your abdomen will probably be quite baggy after delivery. This is partly because your muscles have stretched. Find tips on reaching a healthy weight after giving birth. You may sometimes feel a painful twinge or period-like pain in your stomach when breastfeeding. This is your uterus (womb) contracting to return to its pre-pregnant state.
- Your bladder-At first, it may be difficult to pee or tell when your bladder is full. Pee regularly to prevent your bladder from becoming too full. If you find that it stings when you pee, pour warm water over your perineum or pee in the shower or bath. It is quite common after having a baby to leak urine accidentally if you laugh, cough or move suddenly. Kegel exercises can help prevent this.
- Your vagina-The area between your legs (perineum) may be sore, bruised, and swollen. If you have stitches, you may feel more pain. Find ways to ease your vaginal discomfort. You will have heavy bleeding and discharge which gradually lessens. Use pads only. Not tampons.
- Your pelvic health: Learn about pelvic health in pregnancy and postpartum
- Your bowels-At first, your bowels may seem sluggish. To avoid constipation eat fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains and drink plenty of water.
- Your rectum and anus-Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in or around the rectum and anus. They are common after delivery and can be painful and itchy. They often go away in a few weeks after birth. Find ways to treat Hemorrhoids.
- After Caesarean Births (C-section)-In the event you have had a C-Section, you will need to take extra precautions to ensure your body heals. Learn more about the importance of modifying your activity, diet, and caring for your incision also when to seek medical attention.
- When to seek medical attention-Learn more about your first days at home.
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