My partner is unsure about home birth

This article discusses how to help your partner feel confident about a home birth if they have uncertainties or concerns about you giving birth at home.

One of the main concerns your partner may have is whether home birth is safe. It really helps to read about the subject and fully understand the pros and cons as well as what home birth actually involves. You can find lots of useful information in this section as well as in Further information below. 

It’s also useful to talk to other couples about their experience of home birth and ask them questions about how it felt, whether they were happy with their decision and what advice they might have for you both. You could also contact your local NCT home birth support group by calling 0300 330 0700.

In addition, your midwife could help reassure your partner about home birth and prepare them for what it involves. It does help if your partner is able to meet your midwife early on in your antenatal care to develop a relationship and ask questions from the start.

Reach a decision together

Where and how you give birth are important decisions for you and your partner to make together – especially if they are going to be your birth partner. Try to understand each other’s point of view and reach an agreement before you start to involve family or friends who may have their own opinions.

Sometimes partners may not feel as involved in the whole planning process so try discussing different scenarios together and talking through your options. For instance, how would you both feel if you had a hospital birth? How would you feel if you had your baby at home? What information do you need to make an informed decision?

If you involve your partner from the start in making a decision and gathering information, it will help you make a joint decision and also feel confident and happy about that choice. Perhaps keep a notebook to jot down your thoughts and research to refer back to together.

Practical role at home

Most men who have been birth partners at home and in hospital say that they preferred the home birth, even if they had doubts initially. One of the reasons for this is that you may rely on your partner to provide more practical support than you might in hospital. For instance, your partner, and not the midwife, will know where you keep the towels and baby clothes.

Feeling useful and being comfortable with your surroundings can play a huge part in a positive experience of labour and birth.

Further information

The results of the Birthplace study were released in December 2011 and provide useful information for parents about their choices regarding where they want to have their baby.

NCT's helpline offers practical and emotional support in all areas of pregnancy and early parenthood: 0300 330 0700. We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about labour and life with a new baby. We also run local NCT home birth support groups: call 0300 330 0770 or email to find one near you.

The Home Birth Reference Site provides information and opinions about having your baby at home, for parents who think that it might be the right choice for them, and for health professionals looking for resources. 

Which? and Birth ChoiceUK have developed a tool to help you find out what your choices are for giving birth in your area. This tool combines your preferences with research evidence to show the local options most suited to you.