As our worlds have changed over the last few months due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) the dedicated team at Birmingham Women’s Hospital have been continuing to help families realise their choice of giving birth at home.
The specialised Homebirth service, which is made up of Midwives and Maternity Support Workers, have been by the sides of mums, partners and their babies since 2014 and have, over the last few months, helped safely welcome more than 50 little ones.
Members of the experienced team are as keen as ever to stress the birthing option continues to be offered as, unfortunately, there have been some misconceptions being shared as different units across the country have been unable to sustain their homebirth provision during the pandemic; unlike us!
Offering women and families that continued personal choice when it comes to where their babies are born is as important as ever. A birth can take place at home, in a birth centre or in a hospital; place of birth also depends on a woman’s needs, risks and, to some extent, where she lives.
Rosie, from Kings Heath, gave birth to her son, Ralph, at home supported every step of the way by the Women’s Hospital Homebirth team. She said:
“I made a self-referral to the team and from the moment the Midwives walked through the door for our first meeting, I knew that homebirth was the right thing for me.
“I think there’s a general view that having a homebirth is too risky, but the statistics support better outcomes and with Birmingham having a dedicated team, my partner and I felt really confident that this was the best and safest option for us.”
Rosie’s waters broke on the Saturday and she was in constant contact with her Midwives who were on hand to monitor and offer reassurance over the next 24 hours – both in person at her home and over the phone. Her labour progressed naturally and her Midwife returned to her house the following morning.
Rosie explained: “I continued riding through the surges on my ball and in the bed in our bedroom. Nikki, my Midwife, just seemed to know that I needed a calming and reassuring presence. I knew she was there for me but she was not intrusive.
“After a couple hours of surges, they were getting a little harder to manage so my partner filled the pool. Our daughter was also with us and was having the best day - very excited about the impending arrival of her little brother.”
At this point Dayna, the Midwife who had been with Rosie throughout her pregnancy journey joined the family and, after more expert and compassionate support Ralph came into the world.
As with all homebirths the team stayed with the family for a while; helping and supporting until everyone was happy and comfortable.
Rosie, 36, explained how the unforgettable experience was enhanced for herself and partner, Tom, thanks to her Homebirth team:
“The Midwives guided his soft body up to me. Nikki and Dayna just let me be and that was just incredible, I felt the strength of having these women with me in the room which was so powerful.
“I cannot express how grateful I am for everything the home birth team have done for me and my family, they will forever be in my heart, they have helped restore my belief in what my body is capable of, and given me the opportunity to experience compassion, care and love in the most profound moments in a woman's life.”
Dayna Wright, a Midwife in the Homebirth team at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, said: “We’re all so passionate about ensuring all of our women are offered personalised choices when it comes to the place of their birth and, during the last few months, we’ve continued to be by the sides of families.
“Everyone in the team feels really privileged to be able to care for so many women and families who enjoy the many benefits of giving birth in the comfort of their own homes.
“Having your baby at home increases your chances of having a physiological birth, reduces your chance of complications and you may be surprised to know that evidence suggests there is no difference in neonatal outcomes whether you give birth at home or in hospital. If you are having a low-risk pregnancy, even if it is your first baby and would like to find out more please do contact us.”
Virtual events are being run by the dedicated Women’s Hospital Homebirth team that offer families the opportunity to find out more and ask any questions they may have about the option. The 90-minute online sessions are free but those interested are asked to register in advance.
For more information about home birth visit https://bwc.nhs.uk/homebirth, contact us on 0121 335 8098 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Further details about the sessions can also be found at: https://bwc.nhs.uk/homebirth