About this service

Home birth

Home birth is an option for women who are experiencing a low risk pregnancy and have no medical conditions that would contraindicate having a baby in the home setting.

Points to consider for a home birth

  • Birth in a familiar and comfortable environment
  • Keeps the birth process as normal as possible
  • Women who give birth at home report needing fewer drugs for pain relief or intervention in labour
  • Less disruption to family life
  • Reduced risk of hospital acquired infection

BUT

  • You may have to transfer to hospital if there are certain complications
  • You will need to transfer to hospital if you decide you would like an epidural

The transfer rate to hospital for first time mothers is approximately 30%.

For women having their first baby, there is a slightly increased risk of a poorer outcome for the baby compared to women who give birth in a midwife-led unit or obstetric unit.

There is no increased risk for women having their second or subsequent baby who choose to deliver at home.

There is a focus on keeping labour and birth normal. In the privacy of your home you will be encouraged to remain active and to adopt upright positions in labour, as we know this will increase the chances of having a normal birth in a shorter time.

Who will be present at home birth?

  • Midwives will provide one to one care during your labour and birth.

What pain relief methods can I use at home?

  • Water (you will need to hire or buy your own birthing pool)
  • TENS machine (hired or bought)
  • Complementary therapies
  • Entonox (gas and oxygen) is provided by the midwife
  • Injectable pain relief (pethidine) can be arranged with your midwife
  • Birthing aids such as mats and birthing balls (you will need to hire or buy these)
  • Hypnobirthing

If you are having your baby at home your midwife will discuss with you what equipment they will bring and what you will need to provide.

If you plan to have a home birth the community midwife will come and complete a home birth plan with you as part of a pre-birth visit.

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