Facts About Childbirth



  • Babies are usually born 38-42 weeks after the mother becomes pregnant.
  • A few days or weeks before a baby is born, it usually turns in the uterus (womb) so its head is pointing down towards the mother’s birth canal (her cervix and vagina).
  • Birth begins as the mother goes into labour — when the womb muscles begin a rhythm of contracting (tightening) and relaxing in order to push the baby out through the birth canal.
  • There are three stages of labour. In the first, the womb muscles begin to contract or squeeze, bursting the bag of fluid around the baby. This is called breaking the waters.
  • Babies that weigh less than 2.4 kg when they are born are known as premature. They are nursed in special care units.
  • In the second stage of labour, the baby is pushed out through the birth canal, usually by its head first, the body following quite quickly.
  • In the third stage of labour, the placenta, which passed oxygen and nutrients from the mother’s blood, is shed and comes out through the birth canal.
  • The umbilical cord is the baby’s lifeline to its mother. It is cut after birth.
  • A premature baby is one born before it is fully developed.
  • A miscarriage is when the developing baby is ‘born’ before the 28th week of pregnancy and cannot survive.
  • A Caesarian section is an operation that happens when a baby cannot be born through the birth canal and emerges from the womb through a surgical cut made through the uterus.