Birth options

Every birth is different. When preparing to give birth your preferences and choices will be supported.

Vaginal birth

Most women should be able to plan for a vaginal birth.

Our doctors and midwives will be able to discuss birth planning with you during your pregnancy. When you are in labour you will have a midwife to support you during your labour and birth.  Our midwives are able to support you in non-medical techniques to manage contractions during labour.

We have two baths for deep water immersion and birth that women who have no risk factors for complications or don’t need continuous fetal monitoring can utilise, we also have ensuite showers in each birth room, and a variety of birth balls, and techniques to help you remain upright and active.  

Our midwives are experienced to support you if decide medical pain relief is required for you.


Some women may choose to have a waterbirth.

Water is a natural form of pain relief, and provides an alternative option for comfort, relaxation, mobility and privacy. It increases the efficiency of your contractions, while reducing your need for other forms of pain relief. This option is available to low risk women, with straightforward pregnancies and labours.

Warterbirths are not available to all women, so please discuss this with the midwife/doctor during your pregnancy, and sign the consent forms whilst still pregnant, to ensure if you decide to have a waterbirth, you will be able to remain in the bath.

Breech vaginal birth

If your baby is in the breech position (or bottom first), depending on which way he/she is sitting, you may be offered the option to try to turn your baby into a head first position (ECV – external cephalic version) this is where a doctor uses a technique to manually turn your baby into the head first position.

You may have the discussion with the doctor if you are suitable to try to give birth to your breech baby vaginally. Suitability for vaginal breech birth may depend on a number of factors including the position of the baby, specific factors with your pregnancy, and past obstetric history. You will have the opportunity to discuss this and plan your birth with your doctor.

Birth after caesarean 

If you have had a previous caesarean section you may wish to discuss with our doctors and midwives how you would like to give birth next time. Many women who have had a previous caesarean section could be supported to try for a vaginal birth in a subsequent birth. The benefits of a vaginal birth following a caesarean section include reduced risk of infection, complications of surgery, reduced use of medications for pain relief, quicker recovery time, less chance of baby having breathing problems and requiring special care nursery admission, and reduced risk of complications in subsequent pregnancies.

There are some small risks associated with a vaginal birth following caesarean section, such as, scar rupture which occurs in approximately one every 250 births. If you would like to have a vaginal birth, our doctors will review your previous births, including the reason you required a CS will be taken into consideration, as well as the recommendation of the doctor at the time of your last birth. If you decide you do not want to try for a vaginal birth our doctors will also discuss the risks and benefits of multiple caesarean sections so that you can make an informed choice.

Caesarean section (CS)

There are two types of caesarean section a planned ‘Elective’ caesarean section and an unplanned or ‘Emergency’ caesarean section.   

A planned or ‘Elective’ caesarean section may be the preferred mode of birth for multiple reasons including

  • a previous caesarean section
  • baby is in a breech presentation
  • placenta praevia (placenta covers the cervix opening)
  • a health problem the mother may have which would not allow her to labour and birth vaginally

An ‘Emergency’ caesarean section may occur because

  • you have gone into labour or waters have broken before your planned caesarean section
  • there are concerns for you or your baby’s wellbeing either before or during labour
  • our team will keep you informed along the way on your birth journey to enable you be involved  in the decisions about your care

Elective caesarean (CS) instructions

For all elective CSs, you will be given a morning or afternoon time, and requested to attend the ward at a specific time. You will have some blood tests completed one to two days prior to admission.

You will need to fast (no food or drink) as per instructions below:

Morning caesarean

  1. Have dinner as usual the night before
  2. Consider an evening snack prior to midnight (e.g. toast, crumpets, yoghurt)

NOTHING to eat after midnight – This includes lollies and chewing gum.

Drink clear fluids until 5am (water, cordial, or apple juice only)

NOTHING to drink after 5am

Afternoon caesarean

  1. Have dinner as usual the night before
  2. Consider an evening snack (e.g. toast, crumpets, yoghurt)
  3. Have a light breakfast – to be finished by 7am

Choose ONLY –

Tea or coffee with low fat milk PLUS cereal with low fat milk

OR Low fat yoghurt

OR 1-2 slices toast with a little jam or honey

NOTHING to eat after 7am – This includes lollies or chewing gum.

Drink clear fluids until 10am (water, cordial or apple juice only).

COMPLETE fasting (no food or drink) after10am