Giving birth at home
If you are low-risk or have had a complication-free pregnancy you may choose to have a home birth. If you are considering a home birth you can discuss it with your midwife at any stage during your pregnancy. For safety reasons you need:
- to be healthy with no underlying medical conditions
- a BMI between 18 and 30 at your first appointment
- to have a normal pregnancy with no complications
- to be expecting one baby and it is head down
- your previous pregnancies and births to be straightforward
- for labour to happen between 37 and 42 weeks
If you still want a homebirth but don’t meet the criteria above, speak to your midwife to discuss your options.
Home births are managed by the
Community Midwives based at The Bridge Centre. If you decide to have a home birth you will be referred to a community midwife by your doctor or the hospital.
Labour at home
If you give birth at home, you'll be supported by a midwife who will be with you while you're in labour. If you need any help or your labour is not progressing as well as it should, your midwife will make arrangements for you to go to hospital.
You may need to transfer to a hospital if there are complications with you or your baby. Neonatal staff are available within our Special Care Baby Unit to assist any babies who may require additional help.
Pain options for home birth
You have a number of
pain relief options if you give birth at home. Epidurals are not available at home, but you can use gas and air, a warm bath, a birth pool, your personal TENS (these are not provided by the hospital) machine and any relaxation techniques you've learned.
Pain relief in labour on the NHS website
Episiotomies and assisted deliveries
Sometimes extra help is needed to deliver your baby quickly and safely. Your midwife may need to make a cut in the area between your vagina and anus (the perineum). This is called an episiotomy and it's usually only done to prevent tearing or speed up delivery if the baby needs to be born quickly.
Some women may also need what's called an
assisted delivery. If you need an assisted delivery you will be transferred to hospital.
Forceps and ventouse delivery on the NHS website
Episiotomy and perineal tears on the NHS website
Advantages of home birth
The advantages of giving birth at home include:
- being in familiar surroundings, where you may feel more relaxed and better able to cope
- not having to interrupt your labour to go into hospital
- not needing to leave your other children, if you have any
- not having to be separated from your partner after the birth
- increased likelihood of being looked after by a midwife you have got to know during your pregnancy