Labour and childbirth

Labour and childbirthThe end of pregnancy is in sight – but first there's labour and childbirth to get through. Find out the difference between Braxton Hicks and contractions, how to get labour started, what happens during the stages of labour, the pros and cons of home versus hospital births, different pain relief options, c-sections and more.

Braxton Hicks


So are the tightening feelings around your bump contractions or Braxton Hicks? And how will you know that labour has started? We've got the answers.

Home birth or hospital birth?

Birth cert

Our advice will help you weigh up the pros and cons of having your baby at home, in a birth centre or in a hospital. 

Early stage of labour

Pregnant woman on sofa

The first stage of labour is divided into the early phase, the active phase and transition. Knowing about each will help you to feel in control during childbirth.


Monitoring contractions in labour

In case your birth plan ends up being shredded by a more tricky labour than you anticipated, have a look at the main forms of pain relief available to you during labour.


baby born by c-section

Find out what happens during a caesarean, why you might have one, what it feels like and the difference between an elective and an emergency c-section.

Newborn essentials


Separate the must-haves from the mostly-useless with this starter-for-10 list of what Mumsnetters think are essential items when you have a newborn.

Babies: The Mumsnet Guide

Babies: The Mumsnet Guide

Indispensable when you're chained to a sofa feeding a baby. It's your road map to the uncharted world of the postnatal.