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Labour and birth.

When should you call?



Finally... labour has started!

You have been looking forward to it for nine months, but when and how labour will start, or how you will cope, is impossible to predict.  You, therefore, decide when to contact us. But we would like to give you some practical advice.  View the PDF for more information.

Pregnancy normally lasts between 37 and 42 weeks. So your baby is expected to be born sometime between 3 weeks before to 2 weeks after the due date. Always get in touch with us if you are less than 37 weeks pregnant and experience contractions, amniotic fluid loss or blood loss.

Call us if you are more than 37 weeks pregnant and have:


Are you or your partner worried or concerned? Are you finding it hard going, or do you feel that things are progressing too fast? Then always contact us and we will see what we can do for you. Being worried is not helpful during childbirth and we would like to help ease your concerns.



Contractions are the tightening and relaxing of the uterus putting pressure on the cervix. This pressure will help your cervix to open up, to dilate.  Unlike Braxton Hicks contractions, labour contractions increase in frequency and intensity and become longer and stronger.

Are you expecting your first baby? You should call us when you are having strong contractions for 2 hours that occur every 3 to 5 minutes lasting at least 1 minute.

It's not your first baby? Call us if you feel your labour is making good progress. That's usually when you're having strong contractions every 5 minutes for at least one hour.

Amniotic fluid:

In around 10% of cases, labour starts when a woman's waters break; you're losing amniotic fluid. Contractions usually start within 24 hours of this happening. Clear amniotic fluid has a white, pink or pale yellow colour. It sometimes contains small free-floating particles. Amniotic fluid has a sweet smell. Have your waters broken but labour hasn't started? You can always call us if you're worried, but it's OK to wait until the morning before you call us. In the meantime, try to get some sleep. If your waters break during the day, it's better to let us know straight away.

Call us immediately if your waters are green or brown, or you're not sure about the colour. This may indicate that the baby has pood and stained the water while in the womb, and we will visit you as soon as possible for a check-up. The colour of the amniotic fluid can be clearly seen in a glass or white sanitary towel.

Always call us immediately when your waters have broken and the baby's head was not engaged at your last check-up.


Blood loss:

It's normal to lose a small amount of blood mixed with mucus during labour. But if you're losing bright red blood, like when you're having a heavy period, we would like to check this.

Always call the 24/7 number about the delivery: 06-54626698

If you reach our voicemail, then the line is busy or the phone is temporarily switched off. Call back a few minutes later or, if necessary, call the Atacom telephone doctor service on 020-5923883. We will call you back as soon as possible.

To download a PDF version of the above call instructions, click here.
Click here for an overview of the items you'll need during labour and birth, and for the first week following the birth (maternity week).

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