Labour and birth

Before having your baby, there are some things you should have ready.

Before having your baby, there are some things you should have ready.

Find out what you will need in your hospital bag on the NHS website.

Found out what you will need for your baby on the NHS website.

Choosing where to have your baby

At home: We actively support a home birth service. If you wish to consider a home birth please discuss this with your midwife or obstetrician to enable appropriate choices and plans to be made.

For healthy women experiencing normal pregnancy birth at home is very safe if well planned. Any problems identified in your pregnancy or previous pregnancies will be discussed with you and a plan of care agreed and clearly documented. You should also be aware that this may result in home birth not being recommended.

Our support for your choice is based on clinical assessments during pregnancy and labour which may change dependent on your needs. In the event of problems occurring at the onset of or during labour, transfer to hospital may be necessary.

In hospital: At United Lincolnshire Hospitals we offer a range of services for all women who receive care and give birth with us, depending on your needs the following options may be available:

  • Birth pool on labour ward
  • Birthing rooms for low risk women
  • Fully equipped high risk labour rooms
  • Aromatherapy
  • Obstetric theatre (if necessary)
  • High dependency care (if necessary)
  • 24 hour epidural service
  • 24 hour onsite blood bank
  • A neonatal intensive care
  • Support with feeding your baby
  • Hearing screening for newborn babies
  • Antenatal and postnatal ward
  • Early discharge following birth with follow up by the community midwifery team

Your midwife or obstetrician can discuss your particular needs with you, so that where possible the birth environment can be tailored to your needs and birth plan.

We support an early discharge scheme where if all is well with you and your baby, you can both go home shortly after birth.

Take a tour of the maternity unit at Lincoln County hospital. Watch the video below:

Take a tour of the maternity unit at Pilgrim hospital, Boston. Watch the video below:

The team

A number of health care professionals will care for you during your stay.

These include:

  • Matron – wearing navy blue with red piping
  • Senior midwives/clinical specialist – wearing navy blue with white piping
  • Registered midwives – wearing royal blue with white piping
  • Student midwives – wearing light grey or white and grey
  • Health care and maternity care assistants – wearing white with red epaulettes
  • Receptionists – wearing black trouser, black patterned blouse
  • Doctors – usually wearing normal clothing or theatre scrubs
  • ANNP – Advanced neonatal nurse practitioner – wearing theatre scrubs
  • Transitional care nurses – wearing royal blue with white piping or white with blue epaulettes
  • Nursery nurses – wearing white with black piping
  • Hearing screeners – wearing white with black piping
  • Physiotherapist – wearing white with dark blue piping
  • Domestic – wearing pale green and white stripes
  • Sonographers – wearing white with pale blue piping or navy

Labour and birth

There are several signs that labour might be starting, including:

  • contractions or tightenings
  • a “show”, when the plug of mucus from your cervix (entrance to your womb, or uterus) comes away
  • backache
  • an urge to go to the toilet, which is caused by your baby’s head pressing on your bowel
  • your waters breaking (rupture of membranes)

Call your midwife or hospital if:

  • your waters break, or
  • you’re bleeding, or
  • your baby is moving less than usual, or
  • you’re less than 37 weeks pregnant and think you might be in labour.

These signs mean you need to see a midwife or doctor. If you go into hospital or your midwifery unit before your labour has become established, they may suggest you go home again for a while.

For more information about early labour, please visit the NHS website.

Below is a short video by Better Births Lincolnshire providing you with a walk through experience of having a home birth.

To rent a birthing pool, speak to your midwife or visit The Birth Partnership website.

What happens during labour and birth

During the first stage of labour, contractions make your cervix gradually open up (dilate). This is usually the longest stage of labour.

At the start of labour, the cervix starts to soften so it can open. This is called the latent phase, and you may feel irregular contractions. It can take many hours, or even days, before you’re in established labour.

Your labour becomes established when you experience stronger, very regular contractions. These contractions cause your baby to turn and descend in your pelvis and open your cervix from around four centimetres to full dilatation.

During the latent phase, it’s a good idea to have something to eat and drink as you’ll need the energy once labour is established.

If your labour starts at night, try to stay comfortable and relaxed. Sleep if you can.

If your labour starts during the day, keep upright and gently active. This helps your baby move down into the pelvis and the cervix to dilate.

Breathing exercises, massage and having a warm bath or shower may help ease pain during this early stage of labour.

For more information about labour and birth, please visit the NHS website.

Visit the NHS website for more information on induction of labour.

For more information on caesarean birth, please watch the video below:

Useful information