Home > Birth > Pregnancy > What it’s Like to Give Birth at Christmas

Know someone who’s about to pop? Or your baby’s eviction date is imminent?

We spoke to three mums who all gave birth at Christmas to find out what it’s really like.

*Spoiler alert: “It’s actually rather nice”.

“I ate Twiglets and had wine during labour.”

Lauren Hill-Roger

“I gave birth to my son on Christmas Day. He was 10 days late, and I always joke there was ‘no room at the inn’ as our local hospital was full.

I started to get pangs at 3am-4am on Christmas eve and then called my midwife at 8am. I was due a check-up anyway, so we stuck to the appointment, and she came round and felt the baby’s head. And sure enough, he was on his way! Everything was routine until she called the local hospital and they said they were full. They wanted to transfer us to a hospital an hour away, but I asked if we could go to the one slightly further away, near my parents’ house. All was agreed, and we packed up the Christmas gifts and headed to my parents.”

“”I said to my Mum, I feel quite drunk!”

By about 5-6pm, my best friend popped over, and she measured my contractions while we ate some Twiglets, exchanged presents and had a (not strictly advised) small glass of wine. It was all very chilled. Eventually, we decided to go to the hospital around 8pm, when I was in quite a lot of discomfort. 

As soon as I got there, I was given gas and air, while Christmas hits played (it sounds like a cliché, but they had the radio on), and I remember saying to my Mum “I feel quite drunk”. It was kinda like a regular Christmas eve getting drunk with my friends – ha ha, well, kind of.

My labour took quite a long time, and my son was delivered by forceps at 9am the following day.

Christmas Day!

We called our son Jack, but we did choose Joseph as a middle name. 

“The ward felt incredibly festive.” 

As my labour took a while, I had a few midwives look after me, and one had very sweetly wrapped Christmas gifts for all the babies she would deliver on Christmas Day. Jack’s gift was a teddy comforter, and he still sleeps with it now.

I was exhausted and emotional, but the midwives made me feel so much better, and all wore Christmas hats and brought round Christmas sandwiches. I also made friends with the mum in the bed next to me, as she pulled back the curtain to see if I was ok, and we bonded over the lack of sleep and ate cheese and treats that our families had brought in for us. I went home on 27th as we had an infection, but I finally indulged in a Christmas dinner and ate Christmas pud through most of January. 

Now, we love his birthday and have a birthday tree to make it special for him. He tells EVERYONE we meet that he was born on Christmas Day. 

My Top 5 Tips for Mums Giving Birth at Christmas

  1. Don’t panic
    It’s very unlikely your hospital will be full, so don’t panic. Just call ahead when you know you’re in labour to ensure they have the correct staffing levels.
  2. Enjoy it!
    Having a baby on Christmas Day is special; my son loves his birthday. He sang in the school choir concert last weekend and looked at me when he sang ‘Silent Night’ – he knows it’s the carol I sang to him as a newborn, and I still do sometimes!
  3. Put yourself first
    Explain respectfully to In-laws that you want to stay somewhere you feel comfortable. If you want to travel near your due date, then make sure you know where the nearest hospital is and take your hospital bag and notes. You don’t have to get an official transfer; you just call ahead to say you’re in labour and coming in.
  4. Prepare for the unexpected
    I wanted a water birth, but there wasn’t anyone in on the holidays to offer it, and I had to accept it wasn’t going to happen.
  5. Don’t force the Christmas joy
    You are likely to feel exhausted, in pain, and very emotional. Just because it’s Christmas, it doesn’t mean that you need to force being joyful and welcome lots of visitors.

“I went into labour on Christmas morning with 20 people in my house.”

Holly Johnson 

“My son was due on the 5th of January. I had definitely had enough by Christmas Eve, but little did I know, that he would make an appearance the very next day! I was staying at my Mum’s and having three siblings who all have children and partners, it meant that there were about twenty of us around the table for breakfast. I could feel something was happening, but everyone thought I was joking. The next thing I knew, I was going to the hospital.”

My waters broke, but the midwife tried to send me home. I explained that there were twenty people at my Mum’s house, a selection of dogs, and I lived two hours away, so there was no way I’d be labouring anywhere else!

By lunchtime, my contractions were getting intense, and I was kindly bought a roast dinner with a cracker on the tray. I attempted to eat a roast potato but threw up, so my husband tucked into the rest. I was pretty annoyed at how slowly he ate it.

As you can imagine, the photo was awful 

A few hours later, everything went a little crazy, with nurses saying my son’s oxygen levels were dropping. I was whisked into theatre and prepped for a c-section. The staff had reindeer antlers on, and Christmas music was playing – it was actually rather nice!

When I came out, my Mum was waiting for me along with a photographer from the local paper. I was not in any state to have my photo taken, but my Mum said it would be a lovely keepsake. But as you can imagine, the photo was awful!

It was a total shock to have a baby on Christmas Day, and it does make it difficult as you have to shop for birthday things as well as Christmas. But we have always enjoyed Christmas Day and then had a tea party for Benji at 5.30pm (the time he was born). We have games and nibbles, and it’s quite a nice thing to do after the Christmas chaos. 

We also have a little celebration on June 25th – his half-birthday. But if you’re thinking about doing this, just be warned because now that he’s almost 11, the half birthday seems to have become like a full birthday, and you have to do it all twice!”

“We woke up on Christmas morning without our baby”

Ali Sharman 

I was due on the 28TH of December, so I was expecting it to happen around that time. I went into labour on the 22nd and had quite a long, arduous labour, but eventually, I had my son at 9am on the 24th of December (Christmas Eve). We hoped to head home, but unfortunately, my son was taken to NICU because of an infection. 

At about 9am, we were finally allowed to go down and see him. I was able to stay on a parent and carer ward a few days later, and the signs of infection passed, and we were allowed to go home on New Year’s Day. All our Christmas food was still in the fridge, presents were under the tree, and we were already in a New Year. It was very bizarre. 

There are advantages to having a Christmas baby  

Even though we had a pretty awful time, the advantages of having a baby around this time usually mean that the wards are quieter. For us, this was the case anyway. We felt we were given better personal care than when we had our second baby. 

We got a side room because they don’t schedule c-sections around that time, so they were empty, and we got to use it for free. 

If you are kept in, then the TV is great as there’s so much to watch on TV and all the Christmas cheer kept us going.

The babies were given handmade Christmas gifts 

When we came down on Christmas morning we arrived to an array of gifts, as local charities had got together and provided knitted stockings for every baby in the ICU.

Things like teddies and blankets were put inside each one. It’s making me well up a bit thinking about it now. It was just so thoughtful. My son was given a little teddy. It certainly took the sting out of what had happened a little bit.

It made the staff cheery too, and they were walking around saying, “Ooh babies, Santa’s been!” there was a lovely festive atmosphere, and I never got a feeling from the staff that they didn’t want to be there.

We were also given a Christmas dinner (of questionable quality obviously), but it was there. 

The Best Advice For Women Worrying About Being in Hospital at Christmas

  1. It’s just a date
    The 25th of December is just a date and in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really mean anything. You won’t care about it, and you can always move your Christmas Day to whenever suits you. We did it the day after we got home, and we went for a walk, ate all our food and did our presents then. And it might not have happened on the day, but it was still special, and the main thing was that we had our little baby safe and at home with us.
  2. Buy some pre-made food that lasts
    Get some pre-made Christmas food with a longish shelf life, so you can be flexible with when you want to do it.
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