Myth-busting: There’s no pain relief at home

alt text: infographic with the words Homebirth myth-busting in an orange banner. Below in a speech bubble originating from a graphic of a house, on the right of the image, the words “There’s no pain relief at home”. On the opposite side of the image a speech bubble from a graphic of a woman reads “No, find out more below”

Myth: There’s no pain relief available at homebirths

Truth: There’s a variety of pain relief options available for use at home, both natural and pharmacological.

These options are discussed in more detail during your initial chat with the team and during the homebirth advisory appointment.

Many Mums choose to use TENS in during their latent phase or early labour, which they purchase or hire themselves.

Lots of our clients also choose to hire birth pools which can be very effective in supporting labour. In 2019, 133 Mums used pools in their labours. Baths and even showers can also be ways of utilising water in labour.

As a Team, we carry Entonox or “Gas and Air”, which is available for women to use in labour. Many women find this very effective as a next step from using TENS or water.

We can also arrange a prescription of Meptid for women who would like this option. Like Pethidine, Meptid is an Opioid injection but is less strong. It can be very effective in the first stage of labour, particularly during a long latent phase where it can aid rest.

Third time lucky

After supporting this family over multiple pregnancies it was an absolute pleasure for the team to be able to facilitate the birth they have always desired.

Empowering and Amazing…(1st time mum)

At the 8 week appointment with the midwife – when asked ‘Would you consider a homebirth’ my answer was ‘No way!’ I thought it was pretty unsafe. It wasn’t until my pregnancy yoga teacher – Louise Rogers – said to me about how amazing the team were and how I was less likely to need medical intervention if I had a homebirth. 

So I came home and told my husband – much to his dismay! But he agreed to meet with the team to see what it was all about.

We did a bit of reading up in the meantime and learnt all about the effects of cortisol (the stress hormone) and oxytocin on the birthing experience. We learnt that if you homebirth, you are less likely to need medical intervention , labour can happen quicker and it can be a much calmer, powerful experience where you feel in control. 

My husband and I met with Jodie and we had loads of questions for her- mine all around the safety of my baby and me and my husbands all around the mess!! We knew we were only around 15minutes drive from the hospital but we learnt from Jodie that we would have two (very experienced) midwives with us the entire time. She explained that they not only had a lot of equipment with them – should anything go wrong, but that there were warning signs that they would look out for along the way – which would indicate that we might need to transfer.  

So after a lot of thought (my husband was super keen after meeting the team) we decided to sign up with the team from around 24 weeks.

Having my midwife appointments at home with my named midwife was amazing. I got to know her really well and when a scary thought/ birth story or concern came up – I could speak to her about it and get reassurance. 

 I practiced hypnobirthing every day, yoga and swam. I ate really well and made sure I did everything I could to get baby in the right position.  

When it was time, I started having signs on the Friday that things were happening but we thought it was safe for my husband to still go to work! I went for a walk around Godalming and actually sat and watched a little waterfall stream (very hypnobirthing – down breathing! I used this visualisation in the birth.) 

My husband walked in the door on Friday night and gave me a cuddle and immediately I felt like I had mild period pains – talk about Oxytocin getting things moving! 

We watched the fireworks and had a good night sleep (the last one I have had in a while J) and on Saturday morning – things really started to increase. I knew I needed to be at home, in my safe place. So we put on our funny dvds – American Office, lit a fire and candles and chilled.

We gave Jodie a call to let her know that things were starting and she told us when to get in touch with her.  My husband kept trying to give me food – its true that eating becomes very difficult!

Around 5pm we started to time the contractions and updated Jodie. She instructed us to try and get a good night sleep and ordered Jon to keep feeding me! I had a bath and tried to remain calm. We went to bed but around 3am the contractions had ramped up and I couldn’t lay down anymore. I had a shower and did lots of hip movements – ‘rotate to dilate’ kept going through my mind! We hooked up the tens machine which massively helped and gave me something to focus on when each contraction started.

At 7am we phoned Jodie and said that we thought things were really moving along now. At 8am my waters broke on the stairs and I ran to the tiny downstairs loo and had a freak out – I don’t think either of us really believed it was going to happen until the waters broke. Jon was amazing and calmed me down – but I refused to leave my tiny safe space and screamed that I wanted Jodie! The relief when she arrived was huge. Jon had set up the pool so I got in and started my breathing through the surges.

My birth was incredible, crazy intense, powerful, empowering and magical. I couldn’t believe how it went. The midwives observed me the entire time, making me feel safe but leaving it to Jon and I to do together.

I was monitored but never felt interfered with at all. At one point Jodie could sense that the fears I had discussed with her were creeping in and she reassured me that everything was progressing perfectly.  

After what felt like a lot of crowning and lots of extremely loud noises (I have never heard myself make those sounds before!) my gorgeous boy was born at 11.41am on Sunday 4th November. I was the first one to touch him, he went straight onto my chest, I discovered the gender and we kept the placenta attached for 40minutes and well after it had stopped pulsating.

It was the most overwhelming experience and I cannot believe it went so well – better than I could have ever imagined. I came away after birth exhausted but elated and it meant my recovery was so quick.

By 2pm I was sitting on my sofa (no mess!) with a cup of tea and cake. It was the most surreal experience. 

I cannot explain how empowering and amazing my birth experience was and if you are considering having a homebirth my advice is to just give it a go!

Even if it doesn’t happen at home, you will have had such a lovely lead up to the birth with your experienced midwives. Either way you are going to do some of your labour at home so you might as well see how far you can go with an experienced midwife by your side!

Surrey Hills Client November 2018

Nathaniel Ernest


Nathaniel Ernest and Mum November 2017

They say that second babies are supposed to arrive earlier, but this one made me wait ten days over my guess date. I was totally relaxed about it, as I’ve always thought that babies will come whenever they are ready. My husband, Mike, however, was getting steadily more stressed every day. Mostly this was because we were planning to try again for the home birth which we hadn’t managed to get with our first child, and he knew how much logistical stuff there was for him to do once things kicked off!

My surges (contractions) started at 1am, and I lay in bed and timed them for a while before I woke my husband. I was absolutely convinced for some reason that it was a false alarm, and that I would be waking everyone up in the middle of the night unecessarily! But my last labour had been quite quick once it got started, so we soon phoned my mother-in-law who was driving up from Kent to look after Lydia, our toddler. We also phoned the home birth midwife, Laura, who said she would come straight away.

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Birthed in to Daddy’s Hands

Our due date according to the 12 week “dating” scan was 22nd April 2016. 
I was hopeful that it would happen then as it was reported to be a full moon on this day and I was very nervous about going over as I had a fear of induction.

Friday 22nd came and went. On Saturday the weather was cool but sunny, the bluebells were out everywhere so I had found a walk through a bluebell wood quite close by. I wasn’t expecting to complete the full 2 mile walk, being 40 weeks pregnant, however, it was such a lovely location, my husband and I ended up doing the full circuit. By the time I got back to the car, I felt that I’d over done it. I wasn’t able to lift my legs into the car. I worried myself a little.

We paused on the way back to the house for some provisions, some scones for that afternoon, some biscuits for the midwives that we were expecting any day and a chicken to roast for the following day.

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Eleanora’s Water Birth at Home

We had our daughter at home on 29th June 2016 and I am writing this to encourage anyone who is thinking about home birth to speak to the home birth team, because we found the whole experience so positive and it made such a difference to us.

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An “empowered and euphoric” birth

The Surrey Homebirth Team are amazing, their expertise and level of care meant that we were confident and at ease about birthing at home, despite having complications at the beginning of our pregnancy. We had been unable to have a homebirth with our first child and being able to have one with our second enabled us to have such a different, positive experience. From the fantastic antenatal care given at home, the birth being so calm and empowering to the post-partum care being like a good friend popping over for a cuppa!

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Ezra’s Home Birth

My pregnancy went smoothly and as the big day came closer I felt surprisingly calm about the prospect of giving birth.The due date came…and went. We reached the 41 week milestone and began to think we should help mother nature along. All the old wives tales got an airing: spicy food, long walks, reflexology and then Deana, our midwife, suggested a sweep…this seemed to do the trick and within 36 hours we were off!

It began with mild cramps early in the morning. At first I brushed these period-like pains off, surely this wasn’t labour, I tried to convince Jason, my husband, there was nothing to get excited about. However, within a few hours it became clear that this baby was on the move. The use of a tens machine then birthing pool helped keep me sane in the early stages.

We made the mistake of not blowing the pool up before hand which led to Jason doing breathing exercises with me when the contractions were at their peak whilst trying to inflate and fill the pool at the same time. We were in regular contact with Deana, and were able to let her know when she was needed…Jason’s reply when asked if he wanted her to come, “YES…please!”

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Double Perspective: Emelia’s Birth

In Mum’s words

I couldn’t sleep the night before, which wasn’t too odd, as I hadn’t been sleeping brilliantly for a while. I got to sleep about 02.00. I woke up about 05.30 to go to the toilet and realised that I was having period type pains and backache, alongside my Braxton hicks every 5 mins or so. I didn’t think it was labour because I was early (39+1) and they weren’t strong. I was convinced they would just go off later in the day. I thought this would probably go on for days, as I was a first time mum and I hadn’t had any other signs of labour.

I dozed until around 07.00, they were still coming every 5 mins but not painful. I said to my husband to go to work because I thought they would go off and I didn’t want him to miss work if it wasn’t labour.

I txt Tanya at 09.00 saying what was happening, just so she knew.

At 10.00, I was still getting the period pains every 5 mins and they were getting a bit more uncomfortable. I’d had a bath and just taken some paracetamol but still felt ok and thought that they’d go off. My husband called to let me know he was coming back home to be with me.

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