It's happening! Grab your bags and head to the hospital. Here is what will happen when you get there.
Finally at the maternity ward
Once the midwife has admitted you, she'll take your blood pressure and pulse. She'll feel your tummy to find out how the baby's lying, listen to its heartbeat and check how much you have dilated. You’ll talk about the contractions, when they started, how far apart they are etc. You might also run through your birth plan again, discussing your wishes and preferences regarding pain relief etc
Then she'll do a CTG examination which shows the baby's heartbeat and how frequent the contractions are. This allows her to check on how the baby is managing the contractions and overall to find out how your baby is doing in there.
First stage of labour
You might like to get into a warm bath to relax and soothe the pain. Your midwife won't be with you all the time during the first stage of labour and many advise women to stay home for as long as possible during this stage before coming to the hospital.
Your midwife will come and check on the baby at regular intervals, using a foetoscope, a Doppler device or a CTG machine. She will also check on your progress. She will feel how the dilation is coming along and can help you to choose the right sort of pain relief for your situation.
Advice and support from your midwife
Your midwife is a guide, a solid rock, an expert and a sounding board. Rely on her for advice and support. Don’t hesitate to tell her if something doesn’t feel right. It's important for both of you. Maybe you’ve changed your mind about something in your birth plan. That’s ok. It’s fine to change your mind; remember that your midwife is there to help you and the baby.
During the first stages of labour, your midwife will frequently come and go. If you need her when she’s not there, you can ring for her. During the next two stages, when you are actively pushing and giving birth, your midwife will be with you constantly.
After the birth
At some stage after the birth, it’s helpful to go through what happened. This an important part of the birthing process and it usually feels really good. Ask all the questions you want and discuss anything you weren’t happy with. This meeting tends to be very helpful in preparing for your next birth. But it’s much too early to start thinking about that yet!