FAQ’s about home birth

What is the Surrey Hills Team?

We are a small team of dedicated and enthusiastic midwives with a passion for informed decision making in pregnancy and birth.

We caseload women who choose to birth their baby at home.

We will support and care for you throughout your pregnancy, birth and the first few weeks of being new parents.

You will have a named midwife who will provided the majority of you care, with the opportunity to meet all members of the team through forums and home visits.

Why homebirth?

By case loading your care within a small team we greatly increase the chance of you being cared for in labour by a midwife you have met before.

The midwives who will attend your birth are experienced in homebirth.

We know that the birthing environment affects the hormones involved in labour.

The main hormones that facilitate labour, Oxytocin (the love hormone) and Endorphins (your natural morphine), are produced when you are relaxed, safe and comfortable. The best place to birth is where you feel safe, supported and empowered. Home birth allows many women to remain in their own familiar and comfortable environment

Is Home Birth safe?

Adverse outcomes are uncommon in all birth settings (home, midwifery led unit and obstetric led unit). In order to obtain enough data for their study the Birth Place Cohort Study (2011)  had to combine seven types of negative events under the umbrella term “adverse outcomes”.

The study found that overall there was no difference in the rates of adverse outcomes between places of birth.

Planning a homebirth significantly reduces the risk of caesarean section. Low risk women who plan to birth at home have an overall risk of 2.8% for caesarean compared to 11.1% for low risk women who choose to birth in obstetric led units.

For women having second or subsequent babies, planned homebirth appears safe for mother and baby. For theses women the risk of interventions such as instrumental delivery, episiotomy and caesarean section were reduced significantly and substantially in midwifery led settings (midwifery led unit and home).

In 2019 Hutton et al undertook a systematic review 14 studies looking at planned place of birth. The review involves a combined total of 500,000 planned home births. They concluded “The risk of perinatal or neonatal mortality was not different when birth was intended at home or in hospital.”

In their recent systematic review of 16 studies in to homebirth, with a combined 500,000 planned homebirths, Reitsma et al (2020) found that pregnant people who planned to birth at home were less likely to experience surgical (caesarean) or assisted (ventouse or forceps) births, were less likely to have an Epidural, Episiotomy or significant tear (3rd or 4th degree), had fewer infections and their likelihood of having a postpartum haemorrhage was equal to or less likely than those planning hospital births. They Concluded that “Among low-risk women, those intending to birth at home experienced fewer birth interventions and untoward maternal outcomes.

The recent National Maternity Review: Better Births (2016) states that providing care in the way that our team works reduces the risk of pre-term birth, by 19% and pregnancy loss, by 16%.

Can I have my first baby at home?

The Surrey Hills Homebirth team support women choosing to have their first baby at home.

Although the birthplace study showed that adverse outcomes were rare for all women having a home birth it did show a slight increase in complications for first time mums and their babies.

Of the 4,063 first time mums in the study who delivered their babies at home, 35 had complications (Birth Place study 2011).

I’m interested in homebirth but my partner isn’t so sure.

We are very happy to discuss homebirth with you as a couple and will make every effort to arrange an appointment that  allows for your partner to be present to discuss his/her own reservations.

In the meantime you may find the “fathers and homebirth” webpage over at Home Birth Reference Site useful
What I have previously had a complicated pregnancy or birth?

We support all women to make an informed decision about where they choose to have their baby.

Some women require additional health professional input to reassure and assist them to make an informed decision about where they choose to birth. You will be offered an appointment with a Consultant Obstetrician to discuss your options if this applies to you.

Sometimes we may encourage you to speak to a Supervisor of Midwives to discuss your care needs.

As midwives we will support you in this journey and your birth decisions.

What if complications arise in pregnancy or labour?

We are a team of very experienced midwives who have experience in labour and birthing emergencies. As mentioned previously we may need to involve other health professionals in your care to help you make informed decisions and birth safely. If changes occur during your pregnancy, home may not be the safest place for you to birth your baby. If this happens we will discuss this with you.

What if I want pain relief?

Many women who plan to homebirth will explore complementary forms of pain relief for labour, for example Hypnobirthing and water birth.

We fully support this and can guide you to explore these methods.

Additionally, the Surrey Hills Home birth team midwives can facilitate access to some pain relief medications.

What about the mess?

At 36 weeks we will offer a detailed discussion with you about practical considerations for homebirth. We will advise you on what you will need to supply such as towels and protective coverings.

Unless you choose to keep and/or dispose of your own placenta we can dispose of it for you.

Who will be there?

It is our aim to have two qualified midwives present for the birth of your baby.

A member of the Surrey Hills team will attend you at home, providing one to one care in active labour. Later, a second midwife will be called to be present for the birth.

As the birth is taking place in your own home it is entirely up to you who else you choose to have present. We do have students working with us and birth at home is the ideal opportunity to see normal physiological birth. Consent will always be obtained from you for them to be present.

Can siblings remain at home?

As your child’s parent you are in the best place to determine whether or not your child should be present in your home during your labour and birth.

Ok, I’m interested. What do I need to do next?

There are several ways you can contact us to book an appointment or discuss home birth further.

You can either express interest with your current community midwife, who will forward your details to the team, or you can contact the team directly on via email using the contact form below.

Alternatively come along to one of our monthly informal home birth forum’s to meet the team and other mums who are planning to have or have had home births.

Click here for links to further information which may help you make an informed decision about where you would like to birth your baby and how you would like to be supported during pregnancy and in the early days of parenthood.