Parent education at Bradford

This section is all about labour and birth. Have a look at the links below for some useful information.

We offer virtual antenatal classes that cover all the topics below and more.

Caroline Lamb, Midwife
Gina Melia, Midwife

Where can I give birth?

Where you give birth is your choice. Here at Bradford you may choose to give birth at home, at our along-side birth centre and our labour ward. Women with more complex needs may be advised to give birth on our labour ward where their care can be more specialised. Women who have midwife led care will be encouraged to consider a birth at home or on the birth centre.

Speak to your midwife about the available options.

Tour of our birth centre and labour ward

Home birth

We have a dedicated home birth team – please contact them for information.


Non urgent contact number:
01274 365716
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

How does labour start?

The start of labour is called the latent phase. This is when your cervix becomes soft and thin, and starts opening for your baby to be born. This can take hours or sometimes days.

You’ll probably be advised to stay at home during this time. Please see the video with some useful tips and coping strategies.

Making a birth plan and informed choices

A birth plan is a record of what you would like to happen during your labour and after the birth. You don’t have to create a birth plan but, if you would like one, your midwife will be able to help.

Discussing a birth plan with your midwife gives you the chance to ask questions and find out more about what happens in labour and gives you the opportunity to explore your own preferences. It also gives your midwife the chance to get to know you better, and understand your feelings and priorities, and allows you to think about or discuss some things more fully with your partner, friends and relatives.

The stages of labour

During the 1st stage of labour, contractions make your cervix gradually open (dilate). This is usually the longest stage of labour.

The 2nd stage of labour lasts from when your cervix is fully dilated until the birth of your baby.

You’ll usually be able to hold your baby immediately and enjoy some skin-to-skin time together.

The 3rd stage of labour happens after your baby is born, when your womb contracts and the placenta comes out through your vagina.

Birth partner

Whoever your birth partner is – the baby’s parent, a close friend, partner, or a relative – there are many practical things they can do to help you.

The most important thing your birth partner can do is just be with you.

Talk to your birth partner about the type of birth you’d like and the things you prefer not to do so they can help support your decisions.

You may find it helpful to choose someone who will:

  • be sensitive to your needs
  • stay calm and positive under pressure
  • be attentive
  • be able to explain what’s happening clearly and calmly
  • ask for help if you need it, or speak up for you
  • be able to reassure and comfort you
  • be able to take control if you need them to

Natural comfort measures and pain relief options

It’s helpful to know which pain relief options are available before the birth. If you know what you can have, you may find it easier to stay calm and try to relax as much as you can, which can mean an easier birth. If you are stressed and tense, your contractions may feel more painful and become less effective.

Write down your wishes in your birth plan, but remember you need to keep an open mind. You may find you want more pain relief than you’d planned.

Meeting your baby

After your baby is born, hold him against your skin as soon as possible, and for as long as you want. Skin to skin contact reduces baby’s stress level by 75%. This will calm him and give you both the chance to rest, keep warm and get to know each other.

If you want to breastfeed, this is a great time to start as your baby might move towards the breast and work out the best way to suckle for himself. Breastfeeding also releases lots of oxytocin in baby and mother, which will help you to feel close and connected. If you choose to bottle feed, giving the first feed in skin contact while holding your baby close and looking into his eyes will also help you bond.