Choosing a homebirth
If you are interested in having your baby at home, please discuss this with your midwife at booking or as soon as you know that you want to have a homebirth.
During your pregnancy your antenatal care will be provided by your named community midwife or a member of their team. They will explain what you need to consider when planning a homebirth and make the necessary preparations. Around 36 weeks your community midwife will visit you at home to discuss your personalised plan for birth with you and record your wishes.
When you think you are in labour we ask you to phone the Birth Centre where a midwife will ask you some questions over the phone, give you personalised advice and will then inform the Community on-call Midwife. Two on-call midwives will attend your home to support you in labour and through the birth of your baby.
We encourage our student midwives to attend home births with their mentor to gain valuable experience, so if you do not want a student at your birth this is something to discuss with your named midwife during your birth planning.
After your baby is born, the midwives will stay with you for a short time to support you with feeding and to ensure that you and baby are both well and ready for them to leave.
The following day, your community midwife will continue your care and will see you at home or at a post-natal clinic until you are both ready for discharge.
For more information see the Association for Improvement in Maternity Services (AIMS) Choosing your Place of Birth | AIMS.
Q: I’m not sure if I can have a homebirth?
A: Anyone can have a homebirth, but we do have guidelines to help you make this decision based on things like previous birth, any illnesses you may have, your age or your BMI. We can discuss all these factors with and why we may or may not recommend that you birth at home. Once we have had this discussion you can make your choice about where you want to birth your baby.
Q: Is homebirth going to be messy?
A: Not usually! Although sometimes birth can be messy we are normally very good at containing it on towels etc and cleaning up. Pools can also really contain the mess also if you want to hire one of these and many people put down something waterproof on the couch or carpet just in case.
Q: What would I need to get ready if I want a homebirth?
A: It really is up to you what you want your birth to look like. Some people hire pools, put up fairy lights and posters and really prepare the space, others just prefer to go with the flow. The main thing you need is A LOT of towels, some plastic backed dust sheets can help protect your floor or soft furnishings, we bring anything we really need with us.
Q: How will I know when to call the Birth Centre?
A: Birth is different for everyone and if you are ever unsure then we are on the end of the phone to help you figure out if it is the right time for us come over. If your waters break or you’re unsure if they have then that is a good time to call. If your surges are coming every 2-3 mins and lasting over 60 seconds and you haven’t given us a call, then it probably is time for a chat. We encourage you to trust your instincts and know that we would rather you call than not if you are unsure.
Q: Is homebirth safe though?
A: The Birthplace Study found that home is the safest place to birth if you have had an uncomplicated pregnancy and a previous normal birth, even safer than hospital which is interesting to think about. The decision to birth at home is often much more complicated than this and we get plenty of first-time parents birthing at home too. At home you will have 2 midwives caring for you and if we think that hospital becomes the safest place for you to birth, we can recommend this early and get you there as calmly and quickly as possible.
Q What if I need to go to hospital during labour? If an emergency does happen at home, we are adequately trained to deal with this and carry everything we might need. We work closely with the ambulance service and women who do transfer into hospital tell us they are still glad they stayed at home for as long as they did during labour which is really reassuring to know.
Q Can I change my mind at the last minute? Yes of course you can! Just let the midwife on the Birth Centre know when you initially phone to say you are in labour.
More questions? Your community midwife will be happy to answer any further questions you may have.