Benefits, Risks and Alternatives

What are the benefits associated with home birth?

• Research over the last two decades has found that planned home birth is at least as safe as hospital for healthy women with normal pregnancies, it is also associated with good outcomes for both mothers and babies

• Women choosing home birth are half as likely to have a caesarean section, half as likely to have an assisted delivery and have a lower risk of haemorrhage and infection

• babies born at home are less likely to need resuscitation

• Overall studies have shown that women who give birth at home feel more in control of their labour and feel it was a positive, empowering experience therefore begin motherhood with increased self esteem and have an overwhelming prefernece for planning home birth again for future pregnancies

• Perception of pain is reduced.

What are the risks or disadvantages associated with home births?

• Should you choose to have a home birth but have a complicated pregnancy where medical assistance may be required at birth, you may be placing both yourself and unborn baby at risk at time of birth

• You may have to transfer to hospital if any complications arise during labour. If transfer is required there may be some delay whilst ambulance transfer is organised and this may affect the outcome for both you and your baby.

• You will be unable to have an epidural at a home birth.

The majority of women who plan to give birth at home succeed in doing so. Complications are rare. However, they do sometimes occur and for this reason this patient information has been produced to provide information on what to expect in these circumstances.

The National Birthplace Study (2011) and NICE Guidelines for Intrapartum Care (2014) both support birth at home for low risk women as a realistic and safe choice.

Please talk to us for our current statistics.

What are the alternatives to having a home birth?

Your midwife can discuss this with you and information on choosing your place of birth is contained in your hand held notes. The Royal Surrey County Hospital has a Midwifery Led Unit complete with pools in every room and active birth aids to facilitate low risk births. We would encourage all prospective parent to tour the unit in preparation for birth. Tours are conducted as part of the Royal Surrey’s Your Pregnancy Matter Events and with some antenatal classes For the most up to date information about antenatal classes and courses visit the Royal Surrey Maternity Department’s Facebook page here

Supervisor of Midwives

Supervisor of Midwives are available to offer help and guidance to midwives, women and families in their care. She is an experienced midwife who is available to discuss your birth choices fully with you and explore how any risks may be minimised. She is available to support you and the midwife caring for you to ensure that you have a positive and safe birth outcome. You can ask to speak to a supervisor of midwives at any time during your pregnancy, labour and after birth. If you need to contact a supervisor you may do so by telephoning the hospital switchboard on 01483 571122 and ask to speak to the supervisor on call.

We wish you a happy and fulfilling birth experience.