You’ll know you’re in labour when you feel contractions that last for about a minute each, coming at regular intervals (about five minutes apart).
Hospital or birth centre birth
If you think you’re in labour, phone your hospital or birth centre and speak to a midwife. The midwife will let you know when to come in.
If you have a private obstetrician, hospital staff will usually call your obstetrician and let you know when to come in. Your obstetrician will usually see you during your labour and be there for the birth. If your obstetrician isn’t available, another obstetrician from the practice will come instead.
You’ll most likely be cared for by a few different midwives during your labour and birth. Depending on the type of pregnancy care you had, they might be familiar to you.
Some women might also have a doula or private midwife.
At a public hospital or birth centre, an obstetrician is likely to be at the birth only if you or your baby needs extra medical checks or care.
If you think you’re in labour, call your midwife.
Once you both decide that labour is coming along well, your midwife will come to your home and care for you during labour and birth.
If there are health concerns for you or your baby, your midwife will call an ambulance to take you to a hospital.
You can compare different birth settings to find out what happens:
You can also compare other pregnancy care and birth topics across the different birth settings by visiting Options.
You can also read about:
You might like to watch parent stories about:
Asking for women carers
Some women want only women health professionals to care for them during labour and birth. You can ask for a woman midwife or doctor, but it might not be possible to have one – especially if you or your baby need urgent or specialised medical attention.