Close Close
Mother and Baby

Is A Shortage Of Midwives Affecting The Number Of Home Births?

The number of women having home births has fallen because of a lack of midwives, official figures show – despite the new NHS guidelines that say women should be encouraged to have their baby at home if they want to

Statistics published by the Office For National Statistics (ONS) reveal that the amount of women giving birth at home has dropped by a fifth in four years.
Just 15,500 women gave birth at home last year – 2.3 per cent of all the births in England and Wales.

In 2009, over 19,000 women had home births but they were most popular in 2008 when around three per cent of babies were born in their parents’ houses.
Figures show that it’s most common that women have home births in the South West where around 3.2 per cent of babies are born at home – almost three times the amount in the North East.

Women aged 35 to 39 had the highest percentage of births at home (2.9 per cent) and women aged over 45 had the lowest percentage, with just 0.9 percent of women giving birth at home last year.
Experts believe this decline in home births could be due to a shortage of midwives.

‘It is becoming hard [for midwives] to offer women the options that they should be offering because the services are under threat or temporarily suspended a lot of the time,’ says Elizabeth Duff, senior policy advisor at the National Childbirth Trust.

‘It ends up with midwives simply saying we should be able to offer a home birth but we cannot guarantee that this will be open at the time you go into labour. It tends to lead to women saying I will opt for the hospital because I don’t want to be messed about at the last minute.’

Are you planning a home birth? Let us know in the comments box below.

Related content:


No comments have been made yet.

Win an award-winning aden + anais swaddle pack
Win an award-winning aden + anais swaddle pack

Click here for your chance to win an award-winning aden + anais swaddle pack

Pampers Baby-Dry
Win a 1 month supply of Pampers Baby-Dry nappies

Enter now for your chance to win a 1 month supply of Pampers Baby-Dry nappies PLUS £100 John Lewis voucher.

Lemonade Money
Protect your loved ones this Valentine's Day with Lemonade Money

Valentine's Day is an opportunity to let your partner know just how much they mean to you. If you don't have the time to sort out your life cover, financial planning firm Lemonade Money is here to help.

Win an NCT antenatal course
Win an NCT antenatal course

Click here for your chance to win an antenatal course with NCT and make sure you're baby ready.

How to deal with nappy rash with Superdrug's My Little Star range
How to deal with nappy rash with Superdrug's My Little Star range

Nappy rash is painful for parents as well as for your baby. Read Dr Pixie's guide to learn how to deal with nappy rash…

Celebrating parenting's small wins
Celebrating parenting's small wins

As mums, we're constantly told to enjoy every moment; in reality, parenting can sometimes be challenging. That's where small wins come in...

Subscribe to Mother&Baby!
Subscribe to Mother&Baby

Be the best mum you can be and let Mother & Baby guide you along the way. Each issue is jam packed with REAL advice from mums just like you. Subscribe today & get a free welcome gift!

Ovulation Calculator
Ovulation calculator
Trying for a baby? Work out when you're most fertile to increase your chances of getting pregnant with our easy-to-use ovulation calculator.
Pregnant woman
Due Date Calculator

When is your baby due? If you’re having trouble remembering dates and counting up the days on your fingers and toes, don’t worry – use our due date calculator.

Get M&B in your inbox!

Sign up to Mother&Baby today and get news and advice about your body and your baby straight to your inbox every week.