Our guide will take you through every step of your birth journey, from the first signs of labour to choosing the best pain relief and what will happen after you have your baby in your arms.
The countdown begins
As you cross the days off the calendar, our essential checklist will make sure you are ready – whenever your baby decides to make an appearance.
Three weeks to go
Make the most of this time to rest, sleep and pamper yourself. You might have a sudden burst of energy and get the urge to clear out cupboards and scrub floors. This nesting instinct is quite normal and may even be a sign that you’re about to go into labour. Just don’t overdo it and tire yourself out. Avoid heavy lifting and don’t go up ladders.
- Hire a TENS machine. What’s a TENS machine? Click here to find out.
- Pack your hospital bag. Click here for what you’ll need to go in it. * Make sure you and your partner have numbers for the maternity unit, your midwife and a local taxi firm to hand.
- Update your mobile phone with your family/friends/colleagues latest phone numbers. You can always send a group text if you’re too busy to call everyone. Just don’t forget to pack your charger.
- Unpack and assemble your baby gear, including your car seat, and find out how everything works. File away all the instructions and receipts.
- Stock up on newborn nappies, wipes and cotton wool balls.
- Wash all your baby clothes using a non-bio product.
- Sip raspberry leaf tea, available from health food shops. It’s believed to help tone your uterus, which can result in a shorter pushing stage and less risk of intervention, such as forceps. Start with one cup a day and build up to a maximum of four cups. Don’t drink this before 32 weeks!