Labour and Birth

Giving birth is a natural process – and most babies are born without medical interventions. Although it may be hard, trust yourself to labour and give birth to your baby with the support of your health care provider and support people.

Getting Ready

Planning ahead will help you when your labour starts. Talk to your midwife or doctor about your plans for early labour and when they want you to contact them.

When to call your doctor or midwife 

  • When your contractions are regular and uncomfortable, usually 3-5 minutes apart and lasting 45-60 seconds
  • If your water breaks or leaks.
  • If you have vaginal bleeding, or show (pink tinged vaginal mucus).
  • If you are unsure or have concerns
  • If you have been advised to call for other reasons
  • If your baby stops moving or moves less than usual

A key part of planning for your baby is deciding where you want to give birth. In British Columbia, women and their partners can choose to have their baby in a hospital or at home. For more information on deciding where to give birth, talk to your health care provider.

Pack your bag for the hospital or prepare yourself for a home birth (check with your midwife). Think about how you are going to get to the hospital, and who will take care of your other children or pets when you are away.

Preterm Labour

Preterm labour is when you have regular contractions and you are 20 to 37 weeks pregnant. Regular contractions are 4 or more in 20 minutes or about 8 or more in 1 hour. You may also be having preterm labour if you have leaking or gushing of fluid from your vagina, pain that feels like menstrual cramps, a feeling of pressure in your pelvis or lower belly, back ache, or a generally not feeling well.

If you think you may be in labour, contact your health care provider right away, and go to the hospital to be checked. This can make a big difference to your baby’s health