Are you thinking of having your baby at home?
We offer information and support to expectant parents and their families about all aspects of home birth. Come to one of our quarterly meetings and meet other expectant parents, and those who have already experienced a home birth. Please see events for forthcoming dates. These will also be advertised via Facebook. These meetings are open to all both NCT members and non-members, partners are very welcome. There is lots of information on home birth on the main NCT website, including FAQs. Please contact Kate Cameron on 0208 658 7671 or email email@example.com for further information.
You may be interested in these birth stories from local families:
- There is No Place Like Home
- Have a Home Birth? I Must be Mad....
- I Must be Mad - Father's Perspective
- A Home Birth - 2nd Time Round
- 3rd Baby, 2nd Home Birth
Why consider home birth?
Having your baby at home means a more private, intimate experience. Being relaxed in the comfort of your familiar surroundings can help you manage your pain, ensure you can move around as you want to, and make childcare for any other children less worrying. Worldwide, the majority of women give birth in non-hospital settings and birth is considered an integral part of family life. Home birth may be a preferable option for women whose fear of hospitals may prevent labour from progressing. When women who had experienced both hospital and home births were asked which they preferred, the vast majority said they preferred their home birth. For a longer overview, please see the NCT Information Sheet: Home Birth.
Is home birth safe?
The home birth option is backed by the UK midwives' and obstetricians' professional colleges, which issued the following statement in 2007:
“The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) support home birth for women with uncomplicated pregnancies. There is no reason why home birth should not be offered to women at low risk of complications and it may confer considerable benefits for them and their families. There is ample evidence showing that labouring at home increases a woman’s likelihood of a birth that is both satisfying and safe, with implications for her health and that of her baby.”
Dutch research has found that home birth is as safe as hospital birth for healthy women experiencing low risk pregnancy: http://www.nhs.uk/news/2009/04April/Pages/HomeBirthSafe.aspx.
How does it work?
Once you have phoned the labour ward to tell them your labour has begun, a midwife will visit you to assess your progress. The midwife will stay with you if you are in established labour, or come back later. A 2nd midwife is called when delivery is imminent so that mum and baby are both looked after. You can delivery your baby wherever you like in your home, as long as there’s space for the midwives to see what’s happening. Some women like to buy or hire a birthing pool. Women can use gas and air for pain relief and/or hire a TENS machine, but cannot receive Pethidine or an epidural. After delivery and (managed or physiological) third stage, the midwives will give stitches if necessary, and give you plenty of time to have skin to skin with your baby, supporting you to breastfeed if you choose to. They will tidy up and help you have a bath when you’re ready. They will leave once you are settled, then call in later that day or early the next day to check on mother and baby.
What if something goes wrong?
Midwives are trained and equipped to cope with most problems, such as heavy bleeding after birth or a baby who needs resuscitating. The midwife will be observing and examining you during your labour and will know in advance if you are likely to need to transfer to hospital for a medical reason that cannot be managed at home. Transfer to hospital is via ambulance. A common reason for transfer is a long labour where the mother and/or baby gets tired and progress slows, necessitating an assisted delivery. Transfer to hospital happens for about 50% of first time mothers and in 10% of second or subsequent births.
What if I change my mind?
If, after planning/starting labour for your home birth, you change your mind and decide you do not want to give birth at home, you can transfer to hospital (or birth centre if available), providing your labour has not already progressed too far. Your midwife will advise.
Kate Cameron, NCT Excellent Practitioner
From NCT Beckenham and Borders newsletter First Words spring edition 2017