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37-42 weeks

Giving birth is always both a tense and exciting moment. It doesn’t matter if this is your first baby or you have given birth before. Childbirth is mother and child working together, each birth can be different and its success or failure cannot be predicted.

Giving birth is a natural process in principle. We will guide you through this process. The location of the birth is your choice. If you have any requirements or questions regarding the birth, we are happy to help. 

We find it important that you and your partner as expectant parents can look forward to the birth and parenthood with confidence. Preparing well can contribute to this. You can find more information on this When you are around 30 weeks, we would love to welcome you to our information evening (Dutch) about the birth. If you are a single parent, please bring the person who will accompany you at the birth.   

How do you know when you are in labour?

Labour usually begins with contractions, but can also mean a false alarm.

False alarm 'tight belly'

During the final term of your pregnancy, you may have felt it already: your uterus contracts every now and again. The further along you are the more often it will happen. This is due to hormones and is called "tight belly". It can be an uncomfortable feeling, but most women don't even notice it.  This tightening of the muscles are not (pre) contractions and do not mean you are going into labour.

The following signs usually mean that labour has not yet started.

  • Tight bellies come and go
  • Tight bellies don’t increase in intensity and/or frequency
  • Tight bellies disappear when you lie down
  • Tight bellies are usually felt at the top of your uterus

Real labour

Labour usually starts with contractions. Sometimes the contractions will be painful straight away and follow each other quickly.  They normally don’t last very long in the beginning; they are irregular and not too painful. Often you can just carry on with whatever you are doing. At the most you will pause for a moment every now and again because you feel ‘something’. These ‘practice contractions’ make the uterus more flexible in preparation for the birth. To see whether labour has started, we will time your contractions and check the cervix internally for dilation. This way we can tell which stage of the birth process you are in. In the early stages of the birth process even we cannot be 100% certain if labour has truly started. No worries: a few hours later you will know for sure! The birth process can also begin by your waters breaking. Strong contractions are needed to open the cervix. They usually start within 24 hours of your waters breaking.  


When should you ring the midwife?

  • You can always ring us!
  • During contractions
  • Your first baby: ring us when you are having regular contractions for approx 1 hour (and they happen every 3 to 5 minutes and last for 1 minute).
  • If you feel the need for a midwife sooner or would like to talk to us about this, you are welcome to ring us earlier.
  • Second (third, fourth etc) child: ring us when you are experiencing painful, regular contractions.  You will recognise these from a previous birth.  Again, if you feel like you need to contact us sooner, you can always give us a ring!
  • We have a certain agreement, depending on how your first birth went.
  • Losing amniotic fluid (try to collect some amniotic fluid in a glass or on a white sanitary pad):
  • If your waters break between 8.00 and 22:00 ring us immediately.
  • If your waters break at night, the amniotic fluid is clear and the baby’s head has lowered into the birth canal, ring us the next day around 8.30.
  • If the amniotic fluid is not clear (green, brown) and/or the baby’s head has not lowered into the birth canal, you should ring us immediately, even at night.
  • If you have bright red vaginal blood loss (more than a full sanitary pad), ring us immediately, even at night.

Phone number for midwife on call: (06) 49 777 349. If there is no answer, please make sure we know your number so that we can ring you back.  If there is no answer or the line is busy for a long time, try again in 15 minutes if you can. For emergencies: contact the doctor’s service on: 0900 – 1515. They will contact us privately with a call back request.

DO NOT send us a text message (we cannot receive these)

Where to give birth?

You can choose to give birth at home or at the hospital. We will accompany you to your place of choice.  This can be your home or at 1 of the 3 hospitals in Utrecht:

  • Geboortehuis, Diakonessenhuislocatie Utrecht ()
  • Wilhelmina Kinderziekenhuis
  • St. Antonius Ziekenhuis Leidsche Rijn

It is important to give birth somewhere where you are most comfortable and are able to relax well. All hospitals offer the opportunity to have a preview of their delivery rooms. Have a look on their websites for opening times. It is you own choice whether or not to have a preview.

Not every home is suitable for home births. If you are considering a home birth, talk to us about safety criteria for your home.

Sometimes due to a medical indication we refer you for a hospital birth.  We will discuss this with you beforehand.  Depending on the medical indication, we can either still provide care during the birth or we need to refer you to hospital.

Find more information here about differences between a home birth and a hospital birth.

Tips from the midwife

  • Let us know your preferences. We will provide the best possible care but if you have any special requirements, please let us know.
  • Food and drink. It is good for you to consume some sugar during the birth, for example a banana, apple juice or dextrose energy sweets. The hospital shop will have a large selection, but you are welcome to bring something from home.
  • Don’t watch the clock too much.
  • It is important to empty your bladder when you can. Many women believe this is not important because they don’t drink a lot. Keep trying; a full bladder can be uncomfortable.  

Which midwife will be there at the birth?

At our practice we share duties amongst the midwives.  So you will never know beforehand which midwife is on duty when you are giving birth.  You may prefer a midwife who you know well. It is our experience that you will get to know the midwife at your birth quite quickly even if you have not seen her before often.

During holiday periods or staff illness you may have a locum midwife present at the birth. 

Do's for partners

  • Put numbers in your phone: midwife, maternity care agency and your mother in law, (go on then).
  • Even though you want to be the hero and deliver the baby yourself: contact the midwife with plenty of notice for advice. The midwife might want to speak to your partner, just the sound of her voice can show how far along she is.
  • If you are at home: no panic. You are important. Only you know where everything is and how everything works.
  • If you are at the hospital: focus on the mother to be.
  • Don’t forget to obey the rules of the road when you are on your way to hospital.

Tips for during the birth

  • Take care of yourself: don’t forget to eat and drink! 
  • Switch your phone to silent, so the ringtone won’t break her concentration.  
  • Be strong: massage her and let her lean on you if she needs it.
  • Claim your place: don’t hesitate to sit next to your partner. 
  • Speak up if you don’t feel well, the midwife can keep this in mind. 
  • It is normal if a woman giving birth is not 100% alert. Be quiet during the contractions and ask her later if there is anything she needs.
  • Be a supporter: ENcourage her, don’t DIScourage.

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