Labour and birth

In this section

  • You’re likely to know once labour starts, but if you’re not sure talk to your midwife (or specialist doctor). Find out about the signs of labour and what you may feel as labour starts.  Read more
  • 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 10cm wide (fully dilated), ready for the baby to pass through.  Read more
  • 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.   Read more
  • The third stage of labour is when the whenua/afterbirth (placenta) comes out. Find out more about this stage, including how long it lasts and your choices for the whenua. Read more
  • 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. Read more
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