Thursday, 23 April 2009



For most women home birth is a safe alternative to hospital. It is your legal right to give birth at home if your wish.

Choosing home birth increases you chance of a straightforward birth and reduces your risk of medical intervention, and halves your risk of a caesarean even if you later transfer to hospital.

Research over the last decade shows that women who give birth at home use far fewer drugs to help them cope with labour. This is probably because it’s so much easier to deal with the pain when you’re in your own home, surrounded by familiar objects and people you know.

You are more likely to breastfeed following a home birth and you are less likely to get an infection at home than in hospital. [This might have more to do with the social profile of women who choose home birth, rather than the actual place of birth, however. SJ]

Women, who give birth at home, report higher levels of satisfaction that those using a hospital. At home women report they feel more relaxed. You are able to use your own toilet and bath, eat what you want and when you want it and take things at your own pace moving around and doing what you wish.

The midwives are guests in your home and you control who else comes into your house. Although some women transfer to hospital in labour, for most women choosing a home birth means you don’t have decide when to leave for hospital nor travel in labour.

After the birth you can sleep in your own bed and have the visitors you choose when you choose them. Partners often ay they feel more involved and get to hold and care for their newborn baby and become as expert as the mother.

Many people, including health professionals, friends and relatives will tell you that you are ‘brave’ to choose a home birth. But for women with a straightforward pregnancy – including women having their first baby – home birth is a safe and satisfying option.

The NCT also publishes a booklet on home birth, and you’ll find there’s lots of discussion about where to have your baby if you attend NCT antenatal classes.

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