Home birth is a safe birth place option for women who are of low risk – that is where there are no pre-existing problems and the pregnancy is uncomplicated.
A range of birth place options are available. Many women may not realise that the option to give birth at home is not only available, but is recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Evidence (NICE) which advises on best practices in health care. Recent research also suggests that for women having a second, third or fourth baby, planned home births offer benefits for the mother and are as safe for the baby as births in hospital obstetric units (Birth Place in England Study, 2011).
A home birth is chosen by women who want to give birth in surroundings that are familiar to them. Being at home may help you feel more in control and relaxed. Feelings of control are linked to better emotional outcomes for women. In addition, women who choose to have a home birth are less likely to have interventions during their labour, such as artificial oxytocin infusion (drip) and the need of continuous electronic fetal monitoring. You are also less likely to need pain relief and so are more likely to have a normal vaginal birth.
At UCLH we have a team of dedicated community midwives who are passionate about home births and are very keen to support you in this decision. In fact, about 3% of the women that are eligible for home births do have their baby at home with us. If you would like to explore this option, please ask your midwife who will provide you with all the information you need.
Please be aware that we can only offer this service to women that live within the UCLH catchment area, but your midwife will advise you on the local home birth service near to where you live.
If you choose to have your baby at home, a midwife will arrange to come to your house to make an assessment when you are 37 weeks pregnant and help you and your partner to plan your birth and discuss in more detail suitability, benefits and considerations you need to be aware of along with the practical aspects of giving birth at home.
Find out how to contact the supervisors of midwives