Home birth

If you have a straightforward pregnancy, you might consider giving birth at home.

Can all women have a home birth?

To ensure the safety of you and your baby it is advisable that you :

  • be expecting only one baby and your baby is lying head down
  • start labour between 37 weeks and 41 weeks plus five┬ádays of the pregnancy
  • have had less than five previous pregnancies
  • have no medical problems or concerns
  • have had no problems with this or previous pregnancies
  • have good help and support from your family and friends
  • have a home that is safe to deliver in

Your community midwife will visit you at home to discuss this. If you do not meet the above criteria and still wish to have a home birth we will continue to support your choice. A Supervisor of Midwives (SOM) may contact you to discuss this or you may contact the SOM.

What are the advantages of a home birth?

The advantages of a home birth are:

  • giving birth in familiar surroundings with family present, if you wish
  • it encourages freedom and comfort
  • you will be more in control of your delivery
  • it reduces the need for pain relief
  • your hormones work more effectively in a relaxed, natural and familiar environment

What are the disadvantages of a home birth?

The disadvantages of a home birth are:

  • although rare, complications can happen. If any complications develop during your labour or delivery you may need to be transferred to hospital.

What plans need to be made if I want a home birth?

Your midwife will discuss this as part of your birth plan.

She or he will:

  • visit you around the 36th week of your pregnancy to develop your plan of care and to prepare both you, your family and home for your labour and delivery
  • arrange delivery of equipment to your home, for example, a delivery pack and entonox (gas and air)
  • discuss the types of pain relief available and how you can get a prescription for diamorphine, if needed
  • your midwife will advise you on the safe storage of any medication

Who will deliver my baby?

There will be two midwives at your delivery, however we cannot guarantee you will know them.