Labour & Birth


Every woman’s birth story and her experience with labour will be different. When a woman is surrounded by her partner, whānau, friends and a supportive lead maternity carer, she becomes empowered to listen to her body and the natural process of childbirth.  As you prepare for your baby's birth, some key points are highlighted below to assist you; minimising any undue stress.


Contact your Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) OR The Labour & Birthing Unit IMMEDIATELY should you experience any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Constant abdominal pain, cramps or contractions before the baby is due
  • Any vaginal bleeding
  • Leaking  of fluid from the vagina
  • Slowing down of baby’s movements or an obvious change in the pattern of movements
    (IMPORTANT: Click here to see what your baby movements are and what they mean)
  • Severe vomiting
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Vaginal discharge which becomes itchy or smelly
  • You develop high blood pressure and/or protein in your urine which can be signs of pre-eclampsia.

Other signs also include:

  • Persistent or severe headaches
  • Problems with vision such as blurring, flashing or spots before the eyes
  • Bad pain just below the ribs on your right side or upper central abdomen
  • Unexplained or severe vomiting
  • Sudden swelling of your face, hands and feet/ankles (especially in the morning)
  • Becoming hot and cold with chills and fevers, or unwell with flu like symptoms

Preparing for labour

Knowing where you will be giving birth is important so that you can plan for this.  Many options are available which include giving birth at home, in the hospital or at a community birthing unit. This forms part of your birth plan. Please talk to your midwife or lead maternity carer (LMC) in ensuring the best outcome for you and your baby.

Some hospitals or community birthing units invite families to attend a tour of their centres. Other centres will provide a virtual tour of birthing units on their websites. Please ask your midwife or LMC for more information as this helps you to find the Labour & Delivery suites in advance as well as become familiar with car parking arrangements.

Click on the links below to view the centres in Auckland:
National Women’s Birthing Unit Tour
Counties Manukau Health Maternity Services
Waitemata DHB Maternity Services

Once you have a fair idea of where you will give birth, preparing for ‘baby’s arrival’ includes having:

  • Bags packed in advance for you and baby (see checklist)
  • Transport organised
  • Support people organised
  • Care for additional children organised
  • Having a relaxed environment to labour in e.g. dim lights, soothing music, quiet safe space; and
  • A baby car seat already installed in the car (hospitals and birthing units will not allow you to leave unless they have viewed your car seat or capsule).  

Signs of labour

If you think you are in labour, contact your lead maternity carer or the Labour & Birthing suite and let them know what is happening.  They will guide and advise you on what to do.


  • Constant abdominal pain, cramping or contractions
  • Vaginal bleeding/mucus show
  • Leaking of fluid from the vagina