Choosing to Have a Home Birth

Once you start nearing the end of your pregnancy you are likely to start thinking about where you want to give birth to your child. For many, this is an important decision because of how personal the experience can be, and more than a few mums would like to give birth to their children in the comfort and security of their own home. Home births are relatively commonplace in the UK now, and there is a strong system of support that ensures that they are as safe as possible.

Is a home birth suitable for me?

Home births are suitable for women whose pregnancies have been straightforward without any medical complications or concerns. If you fall into this category, then you are considered ‘low risk’, and can talk to your midwife about having a home birth.

If you have any kind of complication during your pregnancy, or if your child has been diagnosed with a condition that requires special care after childbirth, home births will not be suitable. Examples of such conditions include pre-eclampsia which can pose a serious health risk to pregnant women during childbirth, and rhesus disease which affects newborn babies and will often need to be treated straightaway.

Ultimately your midwife or doctors are the best source of information about whether or not you should go ahead with a home birth.

Pros and cons of a home birth

Home births offer the major benefit of allowing you to experience one of life’s most significant events in your own home. There are other benefits of course, including the fact that being in a comfortable and familiar environment can help you deal with the rigours of childbirth.

Similarly you don’t need to rush to the hospital as labour kicks in, instead a midwife will make her way to your home and support you through the whole process. That midwife is likely to be someone who has been part of your care for the 9 months of your pregnancy, and that level of familiarity can also go a long way towards making childbirth more bearable. 

Home births also mean that you can stay with your partner during and after the delivery, whereas in hospital your partner might be taken out of the room, and is likely to be separated from you after the baby has been born.

There are however some disadvantages to the home birth, a key one for many women being the fact that the pain relieving epidural is not available. Even if you have had a healthy pregnancy, there is always a chance of complications during pregnancy, and if these occur you will need to be transferred to a hospital straightaway.

Planning your home birth

Ultimately talking to your midwife is the best way to make sure that a home birth is right for you, and if so, to prepare for it. You should always check how far away the nearest hospital is in case of any complications, and which midwife will be available around your due date.

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