Home birth

Picture of a person who appears to be pregnantWomen who have straightforward pregnancy may with to have a home birth.

If you choose to give birth at home, you will be cared for by a team of midwives. If this is of interest to you, you can discuss this with your midwife at booking or at any stage throughout your pregnancy.

When choosing to have a home birth you will be contacting a community midwife when you think you may be in labour. The community midwife will provide support and may consider a visit to you to determine if you are in the early stages of labour or active labour.

During a home birth, a midwife will stay with you once you are in established labour until after the birth.

A second midwife will be contacted to provide additional support during labour and after your baby is born.

If your labour is not progressing as well as it should, your midwife will recommend and make arrangements for you to be transferred to the hospital.

A home birth can:

  • help you to feel more in control of your birth experience
  • reduce anxiety about the labour and birth as you are in your own home and able to use your own facilties
  • promote active labour and normal birth
  • enable your birth partner to be fully involved and supportive in the birth
  • mean you get support throughout the labour and birth from a team of midwives known to you
  • you may want to hire a birthing pool for the birth.

Conditions for a home birth

To have a home birth, we strongly recommend you are medically healthy with no obstetric complications and no complicated previous pregnancies or births. Labour should start between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy.

Available pain relief for a home birth

Women having a home birth are encouraged to move around during labour rather than lying in bed, as this can help with pain relief and the labour process. In addition, these drug-free forms of pain relief are often used during home deliveries at the arrangement of the expectant parents:

  • TENS machine
  • hypnotherapy
  • aromatherapy
  • hydrotherapy
  • deep-breathing and relaxation

Your midwife will also be able to provide you with gas and air which is a safe method of pain relief often used in home births and hospital settings.

Self-refer to have your pregnancy care at the Watford Hospital.

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How to get help

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Refer yourself