Birth and afterwards

Find out what happens as you go into labour and when your baby is born.

baby and whanau

You're likely to know when you're going into labour – the signs of labour but if you're unsure, make sure you talk to your midwife or doctor. There are danger signs during pregnancy when you should seek immediate medical help.

The first stage of labour happens when the neck of the womb (the cervix) stretches to let the baby out. Contractions start and the cervix slowly opens until it is 10 centimetres wide, ready for the baby to pass through. For first-time mothers this stage can last 6–36 hours.

The second stage of labour is when the pushing happens and your baby is born. This stage begins when the neck of the womb (cervix) is fully open and lasts until the birth of your baby. It can take 1–2 hours to push out your first baby.

The third stage of labour labour is when the whenua/afterbirth (placenta) comes out. 

Having a baby is the most natural thing in the world, but it’s different for every woman. Sometimes things don’t go as planned for the labour or you need help with the birth. Find out about inducing labour, pain relief, and help during birth

Placing your baby on your bare skin encourages baby to feed as soon as possible after the birth. Find out about starting breastfeeding – the first feeds.

In this section

  • Your baby is nearly here! Here is some helpful advice for you and your partner before, during and after the birth. Read more
  • Find out what happens as you go into labour and when your baby is born. There’s also information about some of the choices you can make during labour and birth, danger signs before labour starts, and starting breastfeeding after baby is born. Read more
  • Find out what happens for the first 6 weeks after your baby is born. There is information about both you and your baby. Read more
Back to top