Where to Give Birth

Home birth

If you are classed as having a low risk pregnancy, then you should be able to have a home birth. Firstly go and talk to your GP to get a referral to a community midwife. If you encounter resistance from your GP you can transfer to another doctor for the duration of your pregnancy. If the midwife does not want to proceed with your care for a homebirth, contact the head of midwifery at your local hospital.

The advantages of a home birth are:

  • You feel more relaxed and in control.
  • You are less likely to need intervention.
  • If you hire a birthing pool, with a home birth you are guaranteed a water birth, providing there are no complications.
  • You can have as many people present as you wish.
  • Your partner can spend more time with you and your baby.
  • Your other children are less disrupted, as you are not separated from them.
  • You get to know your midwife better and have more personalised care.
  • You can still have gas and air, pethidine and use a Tens machine.

Hospital birth

Some women prefer the thought of a hospital birth. If you feel safer in a hospital environment, then this is the right choice for you. In some cases women are advised for medical reasons to opt for a hospital birth.

These reasons are:

  • If you have medical condition that is deemed a risk.
  • If you had a difficult birth with a previous pregnancy or if you had a caesarean (although if you had a previous caesarean you may still be able to have a homebirth with the right support).
  • If you have placenta praevia.
  • If you are below the age of 18 or over the age of 35.
  • If you are having a multiple birth.
  • If you have a rhesus incompatibility.
  • If you have a narrow pelvis.
  • If your baby is premature.
  • If the medical staff believes the baby should be induced.
  • If you want an epidural.
  • If you live a long distance from the nearest hospital, in case of emergencies.

Birth centres and midwifery units

These try to create a homelike environment. They have a relaxed, low tech atmosphere. Like a homebirth you have a lower chance of medical intervention. They can either be attached to a hospital or at nearby location. You get personalised care as you would at home, but within what some would consider a safer environment.

If you need advice finding a midwife in your area email: information@independentmidwives.org.uk or telephone 01483 821104. For information on where to have your baby and the location of birth centres go to www.birthchoiceuk.com.

Also try www.nctpregnancyandbabycare.com for details of home and hospital births.