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Labour and Birth

Determining whether you are in labour can be rather confusing, especially when you've never had a baby before. Some women liken the onset to needing the toilet. What to expect during labour and birth. Understanding labour - what will labour look like?

What do your hormones do at birthing time?

What do your hormones do at birthing time?

Obstetrician, Dr Nick Walker explains the role our hormones play in bringing a life into this world.  Firstly, what exactly are ‘hormones’? Medically speaking, they are substances produced by certain organs which impart physical or behavioural …

Midwife Grace Strange chats about labour & birth

Midwife Grace Strange chats about labour & birth

OHbaby! Editor Kristina Rapley interviewed midwife and birth educator, Grace Strange about what to expect in labour and birth, including how to know when you're in labour, when to call the midwife, what to pack, how birth partners can help, the …

Where to give birth in New Zealand

Where to give birth in New Zealand

In New Zealand, women generally have three options to choose from when considering where they would like to give birth.   Birthing in hospital The main advantage of birthing in a hospital is that you will have access to specialised care should it …

The Typical Labour

The Typical Labour

What is labour? It is when the baby, placenta and the membranes leave your body. Stages: There are three stages in labour. First, second and third. First stage: Dilation of cervix. It begins with the rhythmic contractions and ends with your …

Hospital bag checklist

Hospital bag checklist

"What should I pack in my hospital bag?" is something every mother-to-be will ask at some point in their pregnancy, especially toward the end. All too often, we end up packing things we don't need, or forgetting essentials. To help you pack for …

What happens when your baby is breech?

What happens when your baby is breech?

What does it mean if your baby is in the breech position by the time you're about to give birth? Dr Emma Parry explains. Whenever your doctor or midwife feels your tummy, she is trying to find out more about your baby. First her size - is your baby …

Obstetrician explains: three stages of labour

Obstetrician explains: three stages of labour

The big moment has finally arrived! But what happens now? Specialist obstetrician, Dr Nick Walker explains the fine print.  Many people are familiar with the general idea of 'the rule of threes' – whether referring to events auspicious or …

Signs that you're in labour

Signs that you're in labour

It’s such an exciting time – you’ve been patiently (or not!) been waiting for nine long months, and finally, your baby could be here any day now! Bear in mind that full term pregnancy is classed as the period between 37 to 42 weeks. Only 3-5% of …

Here's what you need to know about being induced

Here's what you need to know about being induced

Are you desperate to get that baby out, no matter what it takes? Dr Anil Sharma explains what it means to have labour induced.  While the majority of pregnant women will go into labour spontaneously, around one to two in 10 women need a bit of …

Braxton Hicks Contractions

Braxton Hicks Contractions

What are Braxton Hicks contractions? Braxton Hicks contractions are when your abdomen tightens like a contraction causing some discomfort - think of them as a practice run for the 'real thing'. While not a full blown birthing contraction, they are a …

Are you overdue and over it?

Are you overdue and over it?

If you're more than ready to pop that baby out, but he or she isn't ready to play ball, you may need to be induced. That's when labour is started artificially, and it's called an induction. The most common reason for induction is when a pregnancy …

Meditation for mums-to-be

Meditation for mums-to-be

Scared about giving birth? It's possible to get relief from labour pains by using effective mind-over-matter techniques, explains Carolyn Cox. When I was in labour with my second son, I spent the first few hours of contractions in my bathtub, …

Award-winning birth photography

Award-winning birth photography

These beautiful and award-winning photos are the work of dedicated birth photography professionals from around the world. They're shared with permission from the International Association of Birth Photography, and are the winners and honourable …

Real and raw: birth photography award winners

Real and raw: birth photography award winners

Every year the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers holds a competition for the best birth images submitted by its members. We have permission to share the powerful images, so scroll down to view the gorgeous winning …

Award-winning birth photos from around the world

Award-winning birth photos from around the world

These beautiful images capturing different birth stories from around the world, are the award winning shots from the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers 2016 Image of the Year Competition. Categories were Labour, Delivery …

Induction - tricks of the trade for getting labour started

Induction - tricks of the trade for getting labour started

Babies are generally born when they’re ready, but some need a little hurry-along. Dr Nick Walker describes the tricks of the trade for getting labour going – balloons included! You’re coming to the end of your pregnancy, and your LMC is by now …

How to know if you're in labour

How to know if you're in labour

Waiting for baby to arrive can really test your patience! Midwife Grace Nixon reveals how to know whether you’re in labour or not.  Am I in labour? This is THE question every first-time parent will ask, and Google, and gather stories about again, …

Birth stories: three beautiful & unpredicable births

Birth stories: three beautiful & unpredicable births

Three mums tell Sarah Tennant how, once they’re on their way, even earthquakes, power-cuts and fractured bones won’t stop a baby’s arrival! Birth is unpredictable. The instructor at your antenatal class will tell you this. Your midwife will tell …

24 hours in a birthing centre

24 hours in a birthing centre

Sarah Tennant spent 24 hours in a birthing centre, observing a day in the life of these hallowed halls of anticipation 10.00amI have arrived at River Ridge East Birth Centre. For once, I’m not giving birth; I’m here to observe. “Hug lots of …

Episiotomies: the pros and cons

Episiotomies: the pros and cons

Is an episiotomy preferable to tearing 'down there' during labour? Midwife Paula Brasovan explains the different concerns. Episiotomy, considered one of the most invasive measures in childbirth, and feared perhaps second only to having a caesarean …

How to get baby in the best position for birth

How to get baby in the best position for birth

Trying to get your baby into an optimal position for birth was called 'maternal posturing' in 19th century publications, so it isn't a new idea. Birth has a physical, emotional and mental side to it. There is nature and a bit of science involved. …

How to: labour with power

How to: labour with power

Knowledge is power, they say, but it can also bring peace of mind. Dr Nick Walker explains the birthing process and what you can do to get ready for delivery.  Bing bing! My text message alert wakes me at 3.45am, informing me that one of my …

These award-winning birth images will take your breath away

These award-winning birth images will take your breath away

These powerful images document the struggles and joy of bringing new life into the world. We have permission to share these 2017 category winners and honourable mentions chosen by the International Association of Birth Photographers for its annual …

Home birth - is it for you?

Home birth - is it for you?

Sarah Tennant spells out why home birth is considered safer, more comfortable and less painful for many women than hospital births. There's no denying it, planning a home birth is risky. Not for your baby - for your reputation. Currently about 5% …

Hypno birthing

Hypno birthing

After the difficult birth of her first child, Natasha Berman turned to hypno-birthing techniques of self-hypnosis, breathing and visualisation for her next pregnancy - and experienced a dream birth. When you talk to people about hypno-birthing for …

Is it normal to get chills and shakes after giving birth?

Is it normal to get chills and shakes after giving birth?

Along with the sweet relief of not having to push anymore and the joy of finally holding your baby, you may experience a lesser-known phenomenon – postpartum shakes. We want to say right off the bat that this is perfectly normal even though it’s not …

How could vaginal seeding help your c-section baby?

How could vaginal seeding help your c-section baby?

Vaginal seeding: Does it really lead to better health and wellbeing for c-section babies, or is it just a fad? Many women have heard about vaginal seeding and might be curious as to whether it’s something they should consider. Seeding is a …

What to expect if baby will be induced

What to expect if baby will be induced

Nearly a third of mums need inductions to bring their babies into the world. Obstetrician Dr Emma Parry outlines what to expect. Induction of labour is the process of bringing labour on earlier than it would naturally happen. It is very common and …

The 3 stages of labour explained

The 3 stages of labour explained

OHbaby! expert obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Celia Devenish outlines what to expect in the three stages of a “normal” birth process. Most first-time mums will view the impending delivery of their baby with mixed feelings — excitement as well as …

What kind of birth do you want?

What kind of birth do you want?

Are you pregnant and worried that your labour and birth won't turn out the way you hope?  It's your body and your choice - so empower yourself to have a good birth.  Like most first-time parents-to-be, my husband and I dutifully signed up for …

When push comes to shove: dads in the delivery room

When push comes to shove: dads in the delivery room

The reality of labour and birth can be a bit of an eye-opener for all involved, but especially dads-to-be. Hannah Davidson passes on some advice from fellas who have recently been there. Although I had warned him that things might get primal, …

Birth partner's hospital bag checklist

Birth partner's hospital bag checklist

Your pregnant partner has probably had her hospital bag packed and ready to go for several weeks…but what about you? When your partner is ready to go to the hospital, she’s ready to go NOW, so you need to be prepared! Here are some ideas for what to …

My lotus birth

My lotus birth

Can you imagine carrying around your placenta while it’s still attached to your baby, for up to ten days after you give birth? It’s called a 'lotus birth', a practice which is growing in popularity, writes Christine Stride. Auckland mum of three …

Must-have postpartum care kit items

Must-have postpartum care kit items

When it comes time to deliver, you’ve likely been mentally preparing for what labour is really like for months. But what about after your baby arrives? From breastfeeding to your first postpartum bowel movement, taking care of your body after …

Premature birth: the trauma of separation

Premature birth: the trauma of separation

No matter how organised we might be some things in life are completely out of our hands. For Becky Revell and her husband, the curve ball came in the form of a premature first baby. Becky shares her journey with OHbaby!, from baby Joel's shock …

The power and beauty of birth photography

The power and beauty of birth photography

These powerful images document the struggles and joy of bringing new life into the world. We have permission to share these 2018 category winners and honourable mentions chosen by the International Association of Birth Photographers for its annual …

Natural labour preparation

Natural labour preparation

You've bought the cot and washed piles of tiny clothes, but what else can you do to prepare for the arrival of your baby? Natasha Berman shares 10 tips for holistic labour preparation. It is never too early to prepare for labour. Labour …

Place of birth: why it matters where you labour

Place of birth: why it matters where you labour

What a difference a space makes. SARAH TENNANT investigates birth spaces past and present, and the thinking behind their architecture and design. Winston Churchill once said “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us”. I’ve been wondering …

Who will join you in the birthing suite?

Who will join you in the birthing suite?

Some experts say husbands and partners should keep away from the birthing room but really it's up to you who gets to be there on the big day, writes Sarah Tennant. For many women, who's attending the birth is a decision that's fraught with the kind …

Labour of love: what is labour REALLY like?

Labour of love: what is labour REALLY like?

You’re in labour!' It's a loaded statement, but what does it actually mean, and what can you expect? Midwife Abbe Cherry explains.  What is labour like? This is actually a really hard question to answer. Labour is such an individual experience; we …

The noble placenta

The noble placenta

While admittedly not easy on the eye, the noble placenta perhaps deserves a little more respect than it typically receives. Sarah Tennant champions the cause of this remarkable organ. One of my favourite scenes in the vastly underrated Bridget …

Why you need a birth plan and how to write one

Why you need a birth plan and how to write one

Writing a birth plan helps ensure you have active involvement in your baby's birth. It will identify how you wish the birth to be carried out, and your plans for the family after the birth. Carefully consider all your options and preferences and …

Breaking the silence on birth trauma

Breaking the silence on birth trauma

An estimated 30% of women who give birth are likely to end up on the spectrum of birth trauma - whether they recognise and report it or not. And it isn’t just after extreme cases where the mother or baby was at risk of dying. Birth Trauma Awareness …

Ready or not, here baby comes

Ready or not, here baby comes

Preterm birth is a daunting thought for expectant parents. Dr Martin Sowter explains why it happens, what to expect if you’re at risk, and reassures that help is at hand. Going into labour before your due date can be a real inconvenience, with work …

Episiotomies - Fear not

Episiotomies - Fear not

The thought of an episiotomy can make your toes curl, but, as Dr Gillian Gibson explains, this is likely a case of anticipation being worse than reality. Every week I meet with expectant women to discuss a plan for labour and birth. I often notice …

Pain relief - What are the options?

Pain relief - What are the options?

Dr Anil Sharma explains the various options available when it comes to pain relief in labour. Whenever labour is depicted on television or in the movies, it almost always involves the image of a sweaty, loud woman in pain (usually having her …

Surviving a traumatic birth

Surviving a traumatic birth

Childbirth is supposed to be an empowering, amazing experience, right? The reality is, for some women, giving birth does not go the way they hoped and planned, and this can be extremely traumatising. Sarah Tennant breaks the silence on traumatic …

What to expect after the birth

What to expect after the birth

Aside from the euphoria of finally seeing your baby and holding him/her in your arms for the first time and enjoying the special moment and memories, your body has just gone through a lot! The period after your baby is born is where your uterus …

Episiotomies: what's involved?

Episiotomies: what's involved?

What is an episiotomy? This is a surgical cut or incision that is made into the perineum. An area between the vagina and the anus. Why is this done? This procedure is done to widen the passage that the baby's head comes out of. Where is it done? …

Ease the pain

Ease the pain

Just how bad is it going to hurt, and how am I going to cope? These are questions that run through the mind of many a pregnant woman. Dr Anil Sharma explains the various options available when it comes to pain relief in labour.  Whenever labour is …

Push past your fear of giving birth

Push past your fear of giving birth

Impending childbirth is a scary prospect, even for women who have already "been there, done that". Psychologist Dr Melanie Woodfield discusses how you can prepare yourself emotionally for labour, and cope with your fear. We all spend time preparing …