Maternity Services

Painless Labour

Planning your pregnancy

If you are planning to get pregnant, You should also ensure your overall lifestyle is healthy, to give yourself and your baby the best start. Look at your diet including your alcohol intake, and how much exercise you do, with the aim of achieving a healthy weight for your height (a healthy BMI) before you conceive.

Health in pregnancy


Where possible plan your day to ensure a varied diet and base your meals around foods high in nutrients such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrain and pulses. Avoid foods high in fat and high in sugar. Eating well will help you get the right balance of vitamins and minerals required for growing a healthy baby – it will also control appropriate weight gain during pregnancy

You are more likely to achieve and maintain a healthy weight before, during and after pregnancy by:

  • Basing meals on starchy foods such as; potatoes, bread, rice and pasta (choosing the wholegrain option where possible).
  • Eating fibre-rich foods such as, oats, beans, peas, lentils, grains, seeds, fruit and vegetables.
  • Eating a variety of at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
  • Eating a low-fat, low-calorie diet.
  • Avoid fried food, cakes, pastries, fizzy drinks, confectionary and other foods high in fat and sugar such as some take-away and fast foods.
  • Eating a healthy breakfast every day.
  • Watching the portion size of your meals.
  • Keeping an eye on how often you are snacking between meals and making sure the snacks are healthy options.

Foods to avoid

  • Avoid eating:
  • Raw and undercooked meats.
  • Liver and liver products – including pate.
  • Mould ripened cheeses.
  • Shark, swordfish and marlin.

Whilst omega 3 from fish oil is beneficial to you and your baby, we recommend you eat no more than two portions of oily fish per week. This is due to potentially high levels of mercury found in these foods.

Vitamin Supplements

We recommend you take a vitamin supplement of folic acid for at least the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy (400mcg standard or 5mg for increased risk) to help to reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. A supplement of vitamin D (10mcg) throughout pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding is also recommended. You may wish to take a pregnancy multivitamin throughout pregnancy and iron supplements can be prescribed if a health professional feels appropriate.


It’s important to stay physically active during your pregnancy – aim to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes every day. This can include walking, cycling, swimming, light aerobics and gardening. Try to build activity in to your daily routine – use the stairs instead of the lift, take a walk at lunchtime and minimise sitting for long periods. Exercise can help reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes as well as excessive weight gain.

Weight Management in Pregnancy

If your BMI is greater than 25 at booking, there are additional free support services available to you.

  • Pregnancy Ultrasound Scans
  • Screening Tests for you and your Baby
  • Antenatal checks and tests
  • Screening for HIV, Syphilis and hepatitis B
  • Labour and Delivery / Maternal Newborn Unit

Cesarean section

A cesarean section, also called a c-section, is a surgical procedure performed if a vaginal delivery is not possible. During this procedure, the baby is delivered through surgical incisions made in the abdomen and the uterus.

What is Normal Delivery?

Normal Delivery is the birth of a young one through the natural process of labour in which there is a vaginal birth of the infant. It is non-intrusive and as nature had planned.

Signs and Symptoms of Normal Childbirth

A young healthy woman can comfortably go through normal childbirth. Active lifestyle, normal blood pressure and position of the foetus are all indicative of a normal delivery.

  • Between 30 to 34 weeks, the foetus changes position to a cephalic or head down position ready for delivery. When viewed, it looks as if the baby’s position has moved down.
  • The urge to urinate will increase as the pressure from the baby’s head presses down the pelvic region and squeezes the bladder.
  • There will be an ache in the lower back as the foetus starts putting pressure on it (lower back). This because the foetus is positioning itself to get into the cephalic (Head down) position.
  • You may notice an increase in the vaginal discharge. It could be white or pink and sometimes even a bit bloodstained. It is a usual sign of a healthy, normal pregnancy.
  • Upset bowel movement is caused as there is a surge in the hormonal activity. There might be some cramps and discomfort due to this.
  • Soreness of the breasts is also indicative of normal childbirth. As you reach the final stage, it may feel heavy and uncomfortable.
  • The breaking of the water bag usually takes place during labour. Sometimes it might happen even before the onset of labour. The doctor’s advice should be taken immediately.