Preparing for Labour or C-Section

Welcome to The Labour & Birthing Unit at The NMH

A warm welcome to our Labour & Birthing Unit, which provides both midwifery-led and specialist obstetric care. Every woman and every pregnancy is different; we believe that each birth is a natural, unique and very special event. Our experienced midwives are here to give you tailored one-to-one care, guiding and supporting you through labour and the birth of your baby.

Who do you call if you think you are in labour?

You do not need to ring in advance to say you are coming to the hospital because you think you are in labour. However, if you need advice or if any of the following is happening, do not hesitate to call and ask to speak to a midwife: Tel (01) 637 3100:

  • Your contractions are coming every five minutes, lasting longer than 50 seconds and have been getting stronger for at least two to three hours.
  • You have severe or constant abdominal pain with a tight abdomen.
  • Your water has broken and it is clear or has a tinge of pink. Put on a sanitary pad and check it after an hour. If it is wet, please ring us.
  • Your water has broken and it is green or brown. Call us immediately - you will be advised to come into hospital.
  • If there is a change in the pattern of your baby's movements.
  • You notice any vaginal bleeding - bright red vaginal bleeding is not normal.

Newly refurbished and extended Labour & Birthing Unit at The NMH

Our Labour & Birthing Unit has recently been fully refurbished and extended. Five additional en-suite rooms have been added, as well as en-suites added to five pre-existing rooms, bringing the total number of rooms in the unit to fourteen, twelve of which have an en-suite all of which are equipped with birthing aids to support and enhance your experience.

A dedicated bereavement suite and hydrotherapy pool as well as a state-of-the-art specialised room to care for immunocompromised patients have also been added to the unit.

Hydrotherapy Pool at The NMH

The hydrotherapy pool gives women between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy with no medical, surgical or obstetrical risk factors or complications the choice to avail of water immersion or hydrotherapy during labour. For further information, please see our Hydrotherapy Pool Information Leaflet in the Blue Bar below.

Virtual Tour of The Labour & Birthing Unit 

With thanks to The Irish TimesLabour & Birthing Unit in the media

With thanks to both The Irish Times and The Irish Independent, we also have two great videos available for you to view to showcase the newly refurbished unit, simpy click on each to watch.

The NMH eLearning Hub

Our multidisciplinary team have developed a comprehensive guide to help you to prepare for labour and childbirth. This module was developed by a multidisciplinary team who have created a module, which aims to empower you to prepare for, and navigate the physical and emotional challenges of labour. It is designed to complement the information you receive from your caregiver and your antenatal education classes. 

The NMH Guide to Labour & Birth will:

  • Give you tools to help you prepare for the physical and emotional challenges of labour.
  • Discuss coping strategies and pain relief.
  • Guide you through the first, second and third stage of labour. 
  • Provide you with an insight in what is involved when interventions such as a caesarean section or instrumental delivery is needed. 

What can you do to prepare for labour?
  • Train for your labour - be mentally and physically prepared to meet your baby
  • Eat healthy food
  • Practice birth positions and breathing
  • Maintain regular physical activity
  • From 34 weeks, practice Perineal Massage daily
  • Most importantly, make sure you and your partner are aware of each other’s wishes for the labour and birth of your baby. Be sure that you are confi dent in communicating these wishes
  • Discuss any fears or doubts in advance of the labour and birth
  • Believe you can do it
How you can help start labour naturally?
  • Squatting
  • Footpath walking commonly known as kerb walking. 
  • All fours position.
  • Many women have found the use of acupuncture, homeopathic remedies and complementary treatments helpful.
  • Have positive thoughts surrounding the birth. 
  • Be fearless.


Signs of labour
  • Contractions: Contractions are a rhythmic process, building to an intense peak and then fading, it is the only definite sign that labour maybe underway. Normally you need to be having contractions 3 to 4 minutes apart lasting at least 40 to 60 seconds to be in established labour. Remember to rest and relax your body inbetween contractions. 
  • Waters break: If your waters break it is necessary to come into the hospital to confirm that they have gone, to record your baby’s heartbeat and make a plan for your baby’s birth. You may experience a gush of fluid or a leak of fluid which keeps leaking making it necessary to wear a pad. The waters may be clear, slightly green meconium or blood stained. If your waters are meconium stained or heavily blood stained, you will have to remain in hospital for monitoring, until your baby is born.
When should you come into hospital for an assessment?
  • Regular contractions lasting 40 to 60 seconds
  • Waters break
  • Bright red blood loss
  • If you are concerned baby movements are reduced
  • If you have a severe headache or visual disturbances

You do not need to ring in advance to say you are presenting to the hospital. However, if you need advice, do not hesitate to call and ask to speak to a midwife: Tel (01) 637 3100.

Hydrotherapy Pool

Hyydrotherapy Pool Information leaflet