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Finding The Best Birthplace Choice For You

All the options and information to give birth the way you want, where you want.

by Joanna Coleman

What does a birthplace choice actually mean? From the very start of pregnancy your midwife will ask you what your preferences are. For most women at the start of pregnancy the choice between home, a birth centre and hospital birth is like trying to choose what type of sushi you want. Over the years providing midwifery care, I have often been asked: 

“If I choose to birth in a Hospital birth will a doctor look after me? Is it safer?” 

“If I want an epidural in a birth centre does it mean I can’t have one?” 

“What do all these options even mean?” 

Choices, choices, choices.

As midwives we ask the question so thoughtlessly, but on the other side women and their partners feel they are signing a 24 month contract with a dodgy mobile phone company! It is important to remember no matter what choices are made, no one will hold you to them if things are different on the day. For this reason you should view your choices as a wish list. Unfortunately, when pregnant, everyone around you suddenly seems to be a professor in midwifery. 

They will feel very much obliged to give their stance on how pregnancy, birth and beyond should be. It is so essential to make the decisions based on your own values that are right for you and your family. There is no need to base judgements on someone else’s experience or perceptions of safety. No pregnancy, birth or baby is the same and your birth journey is unique to you.

Your birth. Your way.

As much as birth is a physiological event, it is just as much psychological – like running a marathon. Therefore, being comfortable in your surroundings is very important as it often will impact on how a labour will progress. It is well documented that fear of labour will inhibit the pregnancy hormones needed to sustain contractions. This is why focusing on relaxation in labour is vital for your pregnancy. There can be factors beyond control which will determine where a birthplace may occur – even with best laid plans. 

Hypnobirthing is a prove practise to get you relaxed no matter where, what or how your birth will be. There are several factors that may influence your decision of where to give birth, personal to you. As Juno Midwives, we are here to support and help you to make the best choice for you. Here are some facts to aid you in your decision making, no matter what stage of pregnancy you are at.

Home birth.

Planned home birth is often viewed as controversial as it opposes the common belief and assumption that it is safer to give birth in hospital. However, research shows women wanting a home birth in low risk pregnancies is safer than hospital births. It also has considerable benefits for both mother and baby: greater satisfaction from the birth, lower intervention rates, better emotional and psychological well-being, aiding maternal and child bonding. For home births to be deemed as safe, careful planning is needed ideally between 34-36 weeks of pregnancy. Home births have the added benefits of having the midwife attend to you, in fact two midwives at the birth in your own environment with all the safety equipment required for a birth…Just make sure to cover the beige carpet!

Birth centres.

Birth centres share the same principle as home births and they can be found across the country as either standalone units or as part of a maternity unit. These units are intended for uncomplicated pregnancies and are attended by midwives only. They aim to create a relaxed ‘home from home’ environment, often designed to have large birth pools. And like home births, women who labour in a midwifery led unit are more likely to have a normal birth with less intervention. Birth centres, otherwise known as midwife led units, can provide the bridge between home birth and obstetric led units. Although, it is important to note if either a home birth or birth centre is no longer suitable in pregnancy or in labour, referral is made to the hospital. The reason for this may include long labour, bleeding, requesting an epidural etc.

Hospital birth.

Hospital births may also be referred to as labour wards or a delivery suite. Like supermarket lipstick and designer lipstick, whatever the name – they all do the same thing! During a hospital birth you will be cared for by midwives, whilst an obstetric and anaesthetic team is on hand for women who may have pregnancy or non-pregnancy complications and women requesting epidural in labour.

If there is one message to take with you, keep calm and relax. Midwives and obstetric teams are here to be in partnership with you to ensure you and your birth partner have the best experience possible. This is why Juno provides such an important service. If you do have any questions, just ask Juno to point you in the right direction and find the best birthplace for you.

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