Choosing Where to Give Birth


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You’ve gotten through 9 months of pregnancy and are finally at the business end of the whole process: childbirth. It may surprise you to learn that you actually have a choice of where to give birth, and that this choice can actually be quite important as there are many different factors to consider. This article discusses your options in terms of where you can safely give birth.

Can I choose where to give birth?

Generally speaking if your pregnancy has proven healthy and you don’t have a family history of anything that concerns your doctors, you are considered ‘low risk’ and are entitled to a choice of where to give birth. Where there is a risk of a medical complication you are likely to need the hospital setting for childbirth to ensure your safety as well as that of your child.

Where can I give birth?

You can choose to go through your labour and childbirth at a number of different locations. Traditionally many people opt for a hospital birth, which takes place in a dedicated theatre with a full compliment of staff to hand, as well as easy access to any medical care you need if there are complications.

Another popular choice is the home birth route. You can in fact choose to have birth at home and receive the medical support you need for your delivery right in the comfort of your own home. Alternatively you can choose to give birth at birth centre or midwifery unit accessible to you.

These choices apply to you whether you are under NHS or private care, and ultimately the choice of where to give birth is completely your own. Your doctor or midwife will undoubtedly give you a wealth of information about these options and their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

Safety considerations

The major concern when it comes to any kind of decision about childbirth is the safety of both yourself and your soon to be born child. The options available to you are offered because they are all safe provided the appropriately trained medical staff are to hand during the actual delivery of your child.

Generally speaking hospital births are recommended where assisted birthing techniques are needed, for example, the use of forceps or a c section. In these instances a hospital is the only truly safe environment for child birth. Similarly if you suffer from a medical condition, or have a family history of particular conditions, or if your child has been diagnosed with an illness like rhesus disease, it is safest to give birth in hospital, where any and all medical help you might need are within easy reach.

Information on your choice of birthplace

If you feel uncertain about where to give birth to your child then fret not, you are far from the only one. Fortunately there is plenty of information available about how to make this decision. You are likely to be given such information to help you make your decision towards the end of your pregnancy. Your midwife or doctor will give you plenty of information and advice, but if you would like more you can find out as much as you need to from a number of other sources including your GP, children’s centres, the National Childbirth Trust (NCT), and local maternity units.


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