Preparing for birth

Hormones in labour

Hormones play an important role in all stages of labour and birth. Here we discuss the impact they have in terms of pain relief and other physical and emotional changes.

Giving birth at a birth centre or midwife-led unit

Having your baby at a birth centre or a midwife-led unit can be a good option. We discuss the pros and cons and the flexibility you have in choosing your birth environment.

Dad’s role during labour and birth

As your due date approaches, it is a good idea for dads-to-be to know about the first, second and third stages of labour, as well as being aware of any potential complications.

Birth Centre

Choosing where to have your baby

Where you decide to give birth affects your experience. This article discusses the options available including giving birth at home, at a birth centre or at a hospital.

woman in labour and partner

First stage of labour

What happens in the first stage of labour? Here we look at what happens with contractions and cervix dilation in early labour.

pregnant mother sitting

Choices for birth in your area - UK

Find out about the birth choices available in your area in the UK. This tool from Which? Birth Choice gives you options and information so you can choose where you would like to have your baby.

Tips for birthing partners

Birthing partners have an important role in supporting women in labour. Here we offer some useful tips for birth partners on planning, communicating and helping throughout.

Pain relief in labour

Pain relief in labour

Find out about the different options available for pain relief in labour, including epidural, pethidine, TENS and other means of reducing discomfort before and during childbirth.

pregnant woman

What is a straightforward birth?

Straightforward birth means giving birth vaginally without any procedures or interventions. Read about the advantages and how to encourage a straightforward birth.

Giving birth in a hospital

This article discusses hospital birth: what happens before, during and after. What are the pros and cons and what do you need to take when packing your hospital bag?

Pain management in labour and childbirth

This article looks at how your body copes with pain naturally during labour and what you can do to manage and relieve the pain of contractions and childbirth.

Early signs of labour

Discover the early signs of labour, such as Braxton Hicks contractions and mucus plug discharge. Read about symptoms, preparing for birth and when to call your midwife.