Nine months of weird cravings, swollen breasts, squished lungs and no waistline lead up to the inevitable climatic point of pregnancy: labour. There are many rumours, myths and old wives tales that might make you feel unsettled, unprepared and downright terrified of this time-honoured rite of passage into motherhood.

Preparing for baby

Now it’s time to start focusing on the arrival of your baby. What do you really need during your labour and hospital stay? What decisions do you need to make before your baby arrives?


Postnatal exercise might be the last thing you feel like doing just after going through labour but it may help you more than you think. The good news is that you don’t even have to go running or spend lengthy sessions in the gym. Gentle exercise has been proven to help you recover from childbirth more quickly and give you more energy. Experts recommend a gentle start to your postnatal exercise about 6 weeks about giving birth and you should concentrate on walking, pelvic floor exercises and some light abdominal work.


Newborns are considered to be premature if they come into the world before 37 weeks instead of the usual 38-42 weeks. Premature babies weigh much less than full-term babies and may have health problems because their organs didn’t have time to develop fully.

Natural birth

A natural birth is the low-tech way of having a baby by allowing nature to take its course. It’s based on the notion that women know what to do: that they are innately able to have a baby without machines, epidurals and fear.

Caesarean delivery

Babies delivered by caesarean section, are not born vaginally but lifted out of the womb through a surgical procedure. The surgery is usually performed when a vaginal birth would put the mother or the baby’s health at risk (although there’s some controversy about the way that risk is assessed).

Multiple births

Although a wonderful concept, the reality is that multiple births do carry an increased risk of complications for both mothers and their babies. So, as a rule, from the time that a multiple pregnancy is confirmed, planning starts for making the births as safe and ideal as possible. Weighing up the health and safety issues with what the mother and her partner want from their babies’ birth can be a delicate balancing act. But no matter what is desired, the safety of the mother and her babies always needs to be the paramount goal.

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