Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Why Giving Birth at Home Could Be." the Right Choice for You; AS REPORTS SUGGEST THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE WANTS A HOME BIRTH FOR HER NEXT BABY, A MIDWIFE OUTLINES THE PROS AND CONS OF HOME DELIVERIES TO LISA SALMON

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Why Giving Birth at Home Could Be." the Right Choice for You; AS REPORTS SUGGEST THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE WANTS A HOME BIRTH FOR HER NEXT BABY, A MIDWIFE OUTLINES THE PROS AND CONS OF HOME DELIVERIES TO LISA SALMON

Article excerpt

Byline: LISA SALMON

IF YOU'RE pregnant and want to follow in the footsteps of the Duchess of Cambridge, you may be considering a home birth. One provider of home birth services, Private Midwives, says it has had a 44% increase in enquiries following the announcement that the Duchess is expecting her third child and reportedly wants to have the baby at home.

A new Private Midwives survey suggests 29% of mums would prefer to give birth at home, although the actual home birth rate is only 2.4% of deliveries.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have said they support home birth for uncomplicated pregnancies, stressing: "There is ample evidence showing that labouring at home increases a woman's likelihood of a birth that is both satisfying and safe, with implications for her health and that of her baby."

However, some women may shy away from home births because they fear not being in a medical environment at either a hospital or birth centre could put their baby's, or their own, health at risk should there be complications.

But the Home Birth Reference Site says research has found only 4.3 UK births out of every thousand have serious complications, and planned home, hospital or midwife unit births all have a low level of risk.

Mandy Forrester, the RCM's head of quality and standards, says: "Normally the women who choose to give birth at home have straightforward pregnancies, and the risk factors are very minimal, as long as there's a risk assessment and the woman has made the most appropriate choice for her.

"This is an experience we don't have very often in our lives, and it should be the best experience and as close as it possibly can to how you think it should be."

home birth advantages | Being at home is more relaxing: The woman is in her own environment, with her own things around her.

Mandy says: "It very much makes women feel more comfortable and relaxed, and labour will progress more efficiently."

| Better relationship with the midwife: This continuity of care has a major impact on safety. Mandy says: "A midwife who knows the woman will understand the nuances around her behaviour and what she wants, as a trusted relationship will have built up. That's a real positive." | Family can be there: Children, grandparents and even pets can be at the birth if the mother wants them there.

| Less pain relief needed: Pain relief such as epidurals and other medical interventions are used less frequently during home births. | Homebirth specialist midwives: Most midwives who deal with home births are trained to perform baby's first examination, checking its heart, lungs etc as a paediatrician or midwife would in hospital. | No hospital stay: The mother doesn't have to go anywhere afterwards - she's at home and can have that first period with her new baby without any interruptions. …

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