Birth Information

AIMS has been providing information and support to women and their families since 1960.

Our Pregnancy, Birth and Infant Feeding pages are intended to provide useful information on a variety of topics that we are frequently asked about on our helpline. This information is not intended to replace medical advice, but instead to help you (or people you support) to work out what questions you may wish to ask your health care providers to help them to make your own decisions.

The Birth Information pages are created by volunteer authors and editors, and we have many other topics that we hope to cover in time. Please let us know if you are interested in if you would like to suggest a topic, or if you are interested in writing a new page or have a suggestion for another topic. Please email birthinfo@aims.org.uk

If you would like to speak to one of our helpline volunteers, you can email or call the AIMS helpline (visit our contact page).

Use of AIMS copyright material: all the text, charts and images included in AIMS publications are copyright AIMS unless otherwise indicated. Under UK law, you are permitted to use short extracts from AIMS publications without needing to seek the explicit permission of AIMS, as long as you give the title of the work being quoted, stating AIMS as the author (©AIMS), and provided your use is reasonable and fair. We would be very pleased for you to quote a sentence or two, but if you want to quote a longer extract please contact management@aims.org.uk to explain why you want to quote more and to seek permission.

We ask anyone who quotes from AIMS publications to include the following text:

Extracts from {Title} are ©AIMS. The book is available from shop.aims.org.uk. AIMS is a charity that works towards better births for all by campaigning and information sharing, protecting human rights in childbirth and helping maternity service users to know their rights, whatever birth they want, and wherever they want it. See www.aims.org.uk

Making decisions about your maternity care

Pregnant women and people frequently need to make decisions about the care they want during their pregnancy, birth and afterwards. This article explai…   Read more…

How accurate is my 'due date'?

What is a 'due date'? Most pregnancies last between 37 and 42 weeks, and this period is referred to as "term pregnancy". According to the NICE Guideli…   Read more…

Vaginal Examinations

What are Vaginal Exams? During labour, it is normal NHS policy to offer vaginal examinations, sometimes called a VE. It is important to know that they…   Read more…

Induction of Labour

This page is intended to explain in outline the situations where induction of labour might be offered, what it might involve and what options you have…   Read more…

Booking a Homebirth

Please note that this page is awaiting update There is information about your right to a homebirth in our book AIMS Guide to Your Rights in Pregnancy…   Read more…

Birth trauma resources

The Europe-wide Research Network DEVOTION CA118211 is a made up of researchers and clinicians dedicated to minimising birth trauma and optimising birt…   Read more…

Obstetric Violence

What rights and protections are pregnant women and people entitled to during pregnancy and birth? The World Health Organization (WHO) highlights that:…   Read more…

Medications in Pregnancy

Medications (drugs) should only be prescribed in pregnancy after careful consideration of the risks and benefits to mother and baby. Thanks to a world…   Read more…

Medications and Breastfeeding

In the past it was common to be told that breastfeeding could not continue whilst the mother was taking medication. More recently, evidence-based info…   Read more…

Ways of managing your labour

Many things can affect how you will experience the sensations of labour and there are various options to help you cope and manage your labour. Some of…   Read more…

Choosing your Place of Birth

What are my options? Whether you are expecting your first baby, second, third or more, you have the right to choose where you want to give birth. Depe…   Read more…

Understanding quantitative research evidence

What is quantitative research? There are two main types of research study: quantitative and qualitative (though some studies use a mixture of these me…   Read more…

Monitoring your baby's heartbeat in labour

Why is a baby’s heartbeat monitored? Monitoring a baby’s heartbeat during labour aims to help to assess the baby’s well-being and to see how well she…   Read more…

Am I more likely to need a caesarean if my labour is induced?

Please note that this page is awaiting update One concern many people have about having their labour induced is that it might increase their chance of…   Read more…

Caesarean Birth

Please note that this page is awaiting update About Caesarean Birth Caesarean surgery is lifesaving for some mothers and babies, and avoids problems f…   Read more…

Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)

Please note that this page is awaiting update What is PGP? PGP affects one in five pregnant women to a great or lesser extent. It causes pain in one o…   Read more…

Post Partum Haemorrhage (PPH)

Please note that this page has been removed while awaiting further updates   Read more…

Freebirth, Unassisted Pregnancy and Unassisted Birth

What are freebirth and unassisted childbirth? There is no specific definition of freebirth, but broadly speaking, a woman freebirths when she intentio…   Read more…

Vaccination During Pregnancy

Vaccination has long been a controversial and divisive issue and has become even more so during the Coronavirus pandemic. There are strongly-held view…   Read more…

Vitamin K and your Newborn Baby

This article replaces the AIMS book, “Vitamin K and the Newborn” Please note that this page is awaiting update What is Vitamin K? What we refer to as…   Read more…

Employment Rights and Maternity Benefits (UK)

AIMS provides information and support around the issue of Maternity care, and decisions around pregnancy and birth. Employment Rights and Maternity Be…   Read more…

Who’s Who in Pregnancy and Birth?

We’ve listed the people you are likely to meet whilst you are pregnant, giving birth and postnatally. Some are health care professionals specifically…   Read more…

Template Letters for requesting support

Please note that this page is awaiting update. For the latest information on national guidance please see our webpage Coronavirus and your maternity c…   Read more…

Coronavirus and your maternity care

This information was last updated on 6 April 2022. The links were checked at that time but webpages are sometimes moved. If a link appears to be broke…   Read more…

Latest Content

Journal

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Just ‘birth’: the phenomenon of bir…

AIMS Journal, 2023, Vol 35, No 4 Editor’s note: AIMS is honoured to present Mariamni’s research study in which she interviews 10 women who gave birth without a healthcare…

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An interview with Dr Rebecca Moore…

AIMS Journal, 2023, Vol 35, No 4 Interview by Alex Smith Hello Rebecca, thank you for agreeing to answer some questions about your work with Make Birth Better. I wonder i…

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Postpartum: A short story

AIMS Journal, 2023, Vol 35, No 4 Editor’s note: This is a fictional account of the state of mind of a mother suffering postnatal illness. As such, it is a powerful and di…

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Events

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The Foundation Stones for Supportin…

‘The Foundation Stones for Supporting the Physiological Process in Pregnancy and Birth’ is led by Alex Smith (AIMS Journal Editor and Helpline volunteer) supported by Deb…

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AIMS Workshop: Focus on Resolution

Join us for the an interactive online AIMS workshop " Focus on Resolution " with Dr Rebecca Moore . Rebecca who is a Consultant Psychiatrist and founding member of Make B…

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Next steps for NICE in England

This conference will discuss next steps for NICE in delivering innovation and supporting clinical practice in health and social care in England. It is bringing stakeholde…

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Latest Campaigns

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BICS Conference poster: AIMS Campai…

AIMS Campaigns Team volunteers are presenting a poster about our campaign for Physiology-Informed Maternity Services at the 2023 conference of the British Intrapartum Car…

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Review: National Cohort study on in…

This is a review of the paper (https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1004259%20 ) published on July 20, 2023 by researchers at St George’…

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SWEPIS – The Swedish Post-term Indu…

The evidence on whether there is a benefit in inducing labour if a pregnancy would otherwise last beyond 41 or 42 weeks is far from clear. 1 The SWEPIS study 2 , publishe…

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