What do you know about homebirth?

There are a number of myths and misunderstandings about homebirths and whether some women can give birth to their baby away from a hospital setting. Here we have corrected some of the more common mistakes.

Myth 1: First-time mums can’t have a homebirth

Not true! Plenty of women choose to give birth to their first babies at home too. While second time mums have the added advantage of knowing what birth is like, that doesn’t mean first time mums need to miss out on the experience of a homebirth. Homebirth is a safe option for any low risk woman, regardless of whether it’s their first baby or not.

Myth 2: The home is not a safe place to give birth

For women with uncomplicated pregnancies, the home is a perfectly safe environment. Women who have an uncomplicated pregnancy and have expressed a desire to have a homebirth, will be supported in doing so. Should there be any complications during or after a home birth, a woman may be transferred into hospital for their care. For first-time mums planning to have their baby at home or in a Midwifery-led unit, this occurs in around 40% of births. However, this decreases to around 10% for women who have had at least one baby.

Myth 3: You can’t have a homebirth if you have an underlying medical condition

This is not necessarily the case. All our women are individuals and, while there are some women for whom it is not recommended that they have a homebirth, there are others who should be considered. Complications such as previously having a caesarean section, haemorrhage and high blood pressure could prevent some women from having a homebirth. But all women should be allowed the option to discuss their individual case with a specialist.

Myth 4: A hospital is the best place to give birth

For many women, hospital is the default setting for the majority of births, but that doesn’t mean it is the only suitable venue to give birth. We encourage women to find the safest, calmest and most relaxing place for them to give birth, so for some that makes home the best place for them. Research also shows that women who give birth at home have a reduced risk of infection.

Myth 5: There’s no pain relief

While it is true to say that some pain relief options are not available, there are some. While an epidural needs to be administered in a hospital setting, many women find that gas and air, water births, TENS machines and simple breathing exercises can be an effective form of pain relief.