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Home Birth

Home births are a popular choice for some women who want to give birth in familiar surroundings with support from midwives. 

Giving birth is generally safe wherever you choose to have your baby. In England and Wales 1 in 50 pregnant women give birth at home.

Advantages of a Home Birth

  • 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
  • Having the option for any other children you may have to be involved
  • 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
  • Lower likelihood of having an intervention, such as forceps or ventouse, than women giving birth in a hospital.

Possible Transfer

The midwife caring for you will closely monitor you and your baby. If you choose to transfer to a hospital for further pain relief, medical assistance or your labour is not progressing as well as it should, your midwife will discuss this with you and where necessary make arrangements for you to be transferred to hospital. 

Just under half of all first time mums transfer from home birth to hospital during or after labour. However, only around one in ten require a transfer if they have given birth before.

If you are considering a home birth, your midwife will give you information about what would happen if you had to be transferred to hospital during labour and how long this might take.

Support in Labour

The following pain relief is available during home births:

  • Birth pool (private hire)
  • Gas and air
  • TENS machine (pain relief involving mild electrical current)
  • Relaxation techniques you may have learned.

You can find out more about pain relief in labour *here*.

Who Can Help?

If you feel worried or want more advice you can speak to your midwife.

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of the Healthy Child Programme team.

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