Labour & Birth

Every birth experience is different, there is no right way to do it. This section covers how to prepare for the birth of your baby, what happens during labour and birth and what care you will receive. If you have further questions speak to your healthcare provider as they will be happy to help.

Antenatal Classes

Find out how antenatal classes prepare you for your baby's birth and details of how to find and choose a class

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Pack Your Bag for Labour

Find out the essentials you need to pack in your bag ready for labour and birth, including clothes for you and the baby, towels and sanitary pads

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Inducing Labour

Find out about induction of labour, where the midwife or doctor starts labour artificially using a membrane sweep, pessary or hormone drip

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Tips for Your Birth Partner

Find out how your birth partner can help during labour, such as reminding you of relaxation techniques, massaging you and holding your hand

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Episiotomy and Perineal Tears

Find out about an episiotomy (a cut between the vagina and anus), including why it might be done during childbirth, how long it takes to heal, and how to prevent a perineal tear

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What Complications Can Affect the Placenta

Complications that can affect the placenta during pregnancy or childbirth include low-lying placenta, retained placenta and placental abruption. These complications are rare. Find out more

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How to Make a Birth Plan

A birth plan is a record of what you would like to happen during your labour and after the birth. You don't have to create a birth plan but, if you would like one, your midwife will be able to help

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Signs That Labour Has Begun

Find out how to recognise the signs of labour, which can include contractions, a show, waters breaking, backache and needing the toilet

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Premature Labour and Birth

Find out about premature labour and birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy), and what you might expect if it happens

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Giving Birth to Twins or More

What to expect when your twins or triplets are born, including your birth choices and what happens if your babies are premature

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Forceps or Vacuum Delivery

Find out about assisted birth or assisted delivery, which uses forceps or vacuum (ventouse) to help deliver the baby

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Where to Give Birth: The Options

Find out about your options for where to give birth: at home, in hospital or at a midwife-led (midwifery) unit. Learn more about which pain relief methods will be available

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What Happens at the Hospital or Birthing Centre?

Find out when to call the hospital, midwife unit or midwife once labour starts, and when to go. Plus, what to expect when you get there, including examinations the midwife will carry out and what the delivery rooms are like

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The Stages of Labour and Birth

Find out what happens during labour and birth, including stages of labour, contractions, dilation, birth positions, monitoring your baby, speeding up labour, and active and physiological management of the third stage

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Pain Relief in Labour

Find out about the different methods of pain relief in labour, including self-help, gas and air, birth pools, pethidine,and epidural

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What happens if your baby is breech?

Find out about baby positions before birth including breech.

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Tell Us You’re Pregnant

There are six NHS organisations in Sussex providing maternity care, you can register yourself directly using our self-referral page.

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