My birth choices

This app will help you decide where you would like to give birth to your baby. One or more options may be recommended to you but you may wish to choose a different option – it is your pregnancy and your choice. We want to ensure you receive the best quality, safe care during your pregnancy and birth.

What are my birth choices?

Home birth

You can choose to have your baby at home. Home birth is a safe choice for women who have a pregnancy without any health concerns for Mum or baby, and who want to give birth in familiar surroundings with support from midwives.

Research suggests that having your baby at home can increase the chances of having a normal birth and reduce the risks of intervention in birth, such as caesarean section, assisted delivery, episiotomy and the need for medicinal pain relief (Birthplace study, 2011).

Women who have their babies at home are more likely to birth in water and report higher levels of birth satisfaction.

If there is a problem during labour, you will be offered a transfer to hospital, accompanied by your midwife.

Reasons to consider a home birth:

  • Increase the chance of a straightforward birth and avoid medical interventions.
  • Enjoy your own surroundings and comforts – your own bed and bathroom – to help you relax and be as comfortable as possible, without the need to interrupt labour to travel to hospital.

Birth centres are staffed by midwives and provide a calm ‘home-from-home’ environment, that can help labour to progress better. Birth pools are available and encouraged.

The Birth Place in England Study (2011) shows that if you are having a pregnancy without any health concerns for you or baby, birth centres are just as safe as delivery suites for baby, and safer for the mother, because the likelihood of you needing a caesarean section or other medical interventions is much lower.

Freestanding Birth Centres are not on the same hospital site as the Delivery Suite. Alongside Birth Centres are in the same building as the Delivery Suite.

If there is a problem during your labour, you will be offered a transfer to the Delivery Suite, accompanied by your midwife.

Reasons to consider a birth centre:

  • A more homely environment led by midwives, where the focus is on birth without medical intervention.

Enjoy relaxing surroundings and comforts, with facilities such as pool to give birth in water

If you or your baby have any health concerns which might require medical care and reduce the chance of a straightforward labour and birth, you will be recommended to have your baby in a delivery suite (labour ward), where doctors are available to help if needed. This will be discussed throughout your pregnancy. You will have your own room to give birth in.

If you have a caesarean section, your care and operation will take place in the hospital, either on the delivery suite or in the hospital theatre department.

Reasons to consider a hospital birth:

  • If you or your baby have health concerns which mean that the birth is less likely to be straightforward
  • If you are having a caesarean section
  • If your baby may need special care immediately after birth

Wherever you choose to birth your baby(ies), as soon as possible after your birth you will be encouraged to spend as much skin-to-skin contact with your baby to help you and your baby to develop a close relationship. Your partner can do this too.