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The Rotunda was the first maternity hospital in dublin to get the national baby friendly hospital award

Spontaneous Labour


There is no right or wrong way to go into labour. Every woman does it differently and no two labours are the same. 

There are three stages to labour - throughout the first stage, your womb (uterus) will contract repeatedly causing your cervix (neck of the womb) to thin, shorten and dilate. 

The first stage ends when your cervix has fully dilated to 10 cms. During the second stage of labour, the baby is pushed down through the birth canal and is born. In the third stage, the placenta (afterbirth) is delivered and bleeding is controlled. 

When you are admitted, you will be shown to your birthing room and a midwife and student will be assigned to support and care for you. The midwife will ask you about your pregnancy and labour so far and will carry out an assessment of you and your baby. They will review your healthcare record. If you like, you can change into more comfortable clothes. We recommend loose clothing, preferably made from cotton, as you may feel hot during labour.

Woman getting pre-labour check

As part of the assessment, the midwife will:


  • take your temperature, pulse and blood pressure and also do a urine test;
  • palpate (feel) your tummy to check the position of your baby and listen to the baby’s heartbeat;
  • examine you internally (vaginal examination) to check how much your cervix has opened.

These assessments are repeated several times throughout your labour. The midwife will keep you informed about how your labour is progressing and give you an indication of how long your labour might last. She will discuss options and choices for labour with you. If you have made a birth plan, please let the midwife know. 

The midwife will try to meet your individual needs, making your birthing experience pleasant and fulfilling. Please discuss any requests you may have.


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