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HSE article for Labour

Breathing and self-help techniques for labour

Learning the art of relaxation will help you during pregnancy and labour. You can do this by learning breathing techniques and listening to your body. Learn tips on breathing and self-help techniques for labour.

Stages of labour

Every labour and birth is different. Be prepared to be flexible with your plans. It is hard to know how long your labour will last, but most first babies arrive after 12 to 20 hours. Learn about the different stages of labour.

Contractions and other signs of labour

Understand the signs of labour, what contractions feel like, when to call your midwife and when to go to hospital.

  • Braxton Hicks contractions

    Braxton Hicks contractions are not labour contractions. They're short, not regular and last less than a minute. Call your midwife if they're longer or more regular.

  • Inducing labour

    How and why labour can be induced, and the different methods that can be used to induce labour.

  • Staying active and upright positions during labour

    Being upright during labour can shorten how long your labour may take. Being upright means any position that avoids lying flat. Learn about the benefits of staying upright during labour.

  • Breech presentation

    Why a baby lies bottom or feet first in the womb and how a medical team can correct this position.

  • Premature labour

    Find out how to identify premature labour, how it’s caused and what happens during labour, and how it can affect you and your baby.

  • Ways to deal with labour pain

    How to manage pain during labour and your options, including breathing techniques, positions, water, gas and air, TENS machine and painkillers like epidurals

  • Assisted vaginal birth

    Information on why you might need an assisted birth, what to expect, and the risks of having a ventouse (vacuum cup) or forceps delivery.