Homebirth

Illustration of midwife and baby Enjoying that first special cuddle with your newborn in a familiar setting is a realistic option for many women. If you are experiencing a straightforward pregnancy and labour, then giving birth at home is generally very safe and having your second or subsequent baby at home, if you have a low-risk pregnancy, is as safe as having it in our Birth Centre or Delivery Suite.

Our specialised homebirth service is made up of a group of highly-skilled midwives and maternity support workers who are on-call day and night. The team have been operating for more than three years now, with the sole aim to increase your choices of place of birth.

Why homebirth?

Having your baby in the comforts and surroundings of your own home can help you feel more relaxed and your hormone levels will naturally increase so your labour can progress easily.

There are a number of benefits for having a homebirth, including:

  • Feeling more relaxed and in control
  • You can organise your birthing environment, for example, the lighting and music choices are yours and you have access to your own bath and shower facilities
  • Less likely to experience a painful labour
  • More privacy and you don’t need to interrupt your labour by going to hospital
  • Less likely to require pain relief or have intervention such as forceps
  • Your baby is more likely to breastfeed
  • You are less likely to develop a postnatal infection
  • You can choose to be surrounded by your loved ones

Is homebirth safe?

The Birthplace Study, conducted by the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU) at the University of Oxford, examined the impact of intended place of birth on both maternal and perinatal outcomes for more than 60,000 mothers.

It showed that there is a very low risk of problems for mothers (and their babies) that are healthy and expecting a straightforward pregnancy, whether they plan to give birth at home or in hospital.

What we know, and what this study backed up, is that for healthy women, home is often the place where you can feel more relaxed and therefore labour can progress more quickly and more naturally. It’s also an opportunity for your whole family to be involved in the birth journey if that is what you wish or for the experience to be a calm, relaxed and intimate one for you and your partner.

What are the pain relief options for a homebirth?

During your birth you’ll be at home, so you’ll be more relaxed and you will assume the natural positions for birth which make managing labour easier. All women planning a homebirth are offered a pool at a discounted rate to help during labour, and we also provide entonox (gas and air) should you want this. Evidence shows that being relaxed, using upright positions in labour and using water all contribute significantly to making labour and birth more straightforward and less painful.

If you’d like more information, then please take a look at our dedicated homebirth leaflet or get in touch with our team to discuss your options or come along to one of our regular tea parties to find out more.

You can call our office on 0121 335 8098 or email us at bwc.homebirthteam@nhs.net.

Case studies

If you'd like to hear first-hand stories from mum's that have experienced homebirth you can read more on our homebirth case studies page.