Over the past year, our dedicated Homebirth team has continued to care for more than 150 families whose choice is to give birth in their own familiar surroundings.
The service, provided by a team of highly-skilled Midwives and Maternity Support Workers are by the sides of those they care for day and night, available for callout around the clock every day of the year.
Despite the additional challenges brought by COVID-19 the team were able to continue this important service and have never once stopped supporting families. Over the last 12 months, the number of families choosing to give birth at home has increased by 52% with 110 homebirths in 2019 and 168 homebirths in 2020.
One of the babies our team helped bring into the world was Cyrus who was born in February of this year.
Mum, Priya Chauhan, always found home birthing interesting but never considered it as a serious option during her first pregnancy. However, when becoming pregnant with her second child during the global pandemic, her thoughts began to focus on this following a discussion with her Community Midwife.
She was really keen to stay at home with her husband, Dave by her side and the option of homebirth began to appeal.
As Priya had enjoyed an uncomplicated pregnancy, she was supported to give birth in her home and was cared for by the hospital’s Homebirth Team. They took the family through everything; including answering any questions they had to allay any worries, doubts and ‘what if’ questions.
As the days ticked by, they prepared their home for the birth, which included renting a birth pool that was to be set up at the first signs of labour.
At 40 weeks and three days, Priya, began having contractions around every 20 minutes and, as these increased in frequency to every seven minutes, she called the Homebirth team. Midwives, Gemma and Rachel, joined the family soon after at around 11.30pm and two-and-a-half-hours later their baby boy was born.
Priya said: “Before this pregnancy homebirth wasn’t an option, we’d ever really considered but I knew I wanted my husband to be with me every step of the journey. After speaking with my Community Midwife and then the Women’s Hospital Homebirth team any concerns or worries I had were allayed. The explained everything so clearly and answered all the questions that we had.
“During the labour itself I listened to my body and could feel the birth was progressing quickly and would be established sooner than I anticipated. It was Gemma and Rachel who came that evening and as soon as they entered the room I felt so at ease. From then on, I knew I could safely allow my body to progress into the final stages of the birth.
“Deciding to have a homebirth was probably the best decision we’ve ever made as a couple. The Homebirth team were fantastic every step of the way. They made me able to trust my own instincts in the comfort of my own home. It’s an experience we will never forget.
Homebirth Team Leader, Dayana Wright said “Homebirth is recommended for all women who are medically well and experiencing a straightforward pregnancy. There is no difference in neonatal outcomes whether birth is intended at home or in hospital.
“Women who planned to give birth at home were less likely to experience obstetrical interventions, including caesarean section, assisted vaginal birth, epidural analgesia, episiotomy, and oxytocin augmentation. They were also less likely to suffer 3rd or 4th degree perineal tear, maternal infection or postpartum haemorrhage.
“Although we recommend hospital birth for women with certain medical conditions and women who have previously had significant birth complications, the Homebirth Team are here to discuss your options and will support your informed choice. It is likely that you will have input from our consultant midwife and a personalised care plan created.
“If you are not completely sure about choosing home birth you can book with the Homebirth Team and then make your final decision about place of birth when you are in labour.
“Labour and birth tend to progress well at home as women feel more relaxed, comfortable and in control. Your choice about where you birth your baby will reflect your particular wishes and needs. Wherever you choose to be, it should feel right.”
You can find out more about our Homebirth team here