Giving Birth at a Birth Centre or Midwifery Unit


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These days hospitals aren’t the only places where you can give birth to your child. You can choose to give birth at home (if considered safe by your midwife), or alternatively at a local midwifery unit, which may be referred to as a birth centre. These units are like an intermediate between home births and hospitals, giving you the chance to go through childbirth in a more comfortable atmosphere that is still a dedicated medical facility.

Can I give birth at a birth centre?

Different birth centres operate in different ways with respect to their links to local hospitals. Some birth units are part of a larger hospital, while others can be located in the community or near a hospital but within a separate structure. Your health during your pregnancy and the possibility of any complications during childbirth are what inform whether or not a birth centre is a appropriate for you.

Talking to your midwife will help you determine whether or not midwifery units/birth centres are suited to you.

Pros and cons of giving birth at a midwifery unit

Birth centres are designed to be a comfortable environment that put you at ease during the stresses of childbirth. As mentioned above, they can be standalone units, part of a larger hospital, or a separate part of a larger hospital, and each of these settings has its own advantages and disadvantages.

As part of a hospital a midwifery unit can often offer you epidural pain relief, while independent birth centres can’t really do the same. One of the major advantages of giving birth in a midwifery unit is that you are much more likely to get the midwife responsible for your antenatal care looking after you. This can do a lot towards putting you at ease during labour, and can help you get through the whole process.

When planning to give birth at a birth centre the location of the closest hospital and how easy it is to get transferred there are important considerations. Similarly visiting the facilities before deciding to go ahead with giving birth there is a good idea as you can then get a feel for whether or not you like the environment.


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