Home birth

Choosing a home birth

Around 3 percent of women in the UK choose to have a home birth and the numbers are rising. It fell out of fashion in the 1970's and 80's, however for women who are having an uncomplicated pregnancy or who have previously had normal uncomplicated births, studies have found home births to be a safe as hospital births.

Having a home birth you are less likely to have interventions during and after labour and women will more than likely be delivered by a community midwife that they know.

If you are considering a home birth then you need to discuss the options and the risks with your GP and midwife.

Reasons why women choose a home birth

  • You can labour and deliver in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
  • Your partner and other family members can be present and involved
  • Women find it more relaxing and cope better with their contractions
  • You are more than likely to be delivered by a midwife that you know and has been looking after you.
  • Some women want to avoid the monitoring equipment and potential interventions that can occur in hospital

Assessing the risks of a home birth

For women having a straight forward pregnancy a home birth is considered as safe as a hospital birth
  • Community midwives are especially trained to give maternity care in the community and to deliver babies in the mothers own home.
  • Good planning and preparation helps to assess the risks of a home birth and importantly lays down good foundations for a good birthing experience.
  • If any risks and complications present themselves during pregnancy or labour then a transfer to hospital for the remaining care will be necessary.
  • Following the birth the midwife will deliver the placenta and will suture any minor tears. However if, the placenta does not come away or you tear badly then you will need to go to hospital.
  • Unforeseen problems can arise which if not dealt with properly complications for either the mother or baby can occur. It is therefore important to remain flexible in your approach to a home birth as a transfer to your local maternity unit may be in the best interests for you and your baby.

Sudden complications during a home birth may have worse consequences than if they had occurred in a maternity.

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