Birthing your baby

Soon your baby’s head will move down, and the midwife will see it. If you put your hand down, you will feel your baby.

The midwife will ask you to stop pushing and to pant or blow a few short quick breaths. Practice this before your due date. This is to allow your baby’s head to be born slowly and gently.

The skin around the birth passage usually stretches well. Occasionally it can tear. Panting and blowing out helps to prevent this. Your midwife will help, so try not to be anxious.

Once your baby’s head is born, give one small and gentle push for the body.

Your baby can then be lifted onto your tummy or chest if this is what you would like. This is the start of safe skin to skin contact.

The umbilical cord will be clamped and cut after 2 minutes or after it has stopped pulsating.

During a water birth

If you have a water birth, your midwife will help you to lift your baby out of the water into your arms for skin to skin contact. It is important your baby’s head remains above the surface of the water. As with all births, your midwife stays with you and makes sure you and your baby are safe.

Page last reviewed: 4 December 2018
Next review due: 4 December 2021