A key recommendation of Better Births was that personalised care should be central to maternity services; centred on the woman, her baby and her family, based around their needs and their decisions, where they have genuine choice, informed by unbiased information and central to ensuring that women receive the best care possible.
If you have a straightforward pregnancy, and both you and the baby are well, you might choose to give birth at home. In England and Wales, just over 1 in 50 pregnant women give birth at home.
Giving birth is generally safe wherever you choose to have your baby.
For women having their first baby, home birth slightly increased the incidence of serious problems for the baby – including issues that might affect the baby’s quality of life, and rarely, death – from 5 in 1000 for a hospital birth to 9 in 1,000 for a home birth.
For women having their second or subsequent baby, a planned home birth is as safe as having your baby in hospital or a midwife-led unit (known as Birth Centres)
Advantages of giving birth at home include:
- Being in familiar surroundings, where you may feel more relaxed and better able to cope
- Not having to interrupt you labour to go into hospital
- Not having to leave your other children, if you have any
- Not having to be separated from your partner after the birth
- Increased likelihood of being looked after by a midwife you have got to know during your pregnancy
- Lower likelihood of having an intervention, such as episiotomy, forceps or ventouse than women giving birth in hospital
Please share your feedback regarding your experiences and care surrounding your Home Birth (or planned home birth) to: