Mums-to-be who have had a straightforward pregnancy should be encouraged to have their baby in a midwife-led unit but only women who’ve had a baby before should be offered a home birth, according to draft proposals by NICE
Whether you’ve made your birth plan, or are still weighing up your options, pregnant women should be given more choice of where they want to have their baby.
The latest update by the National Institute for Health And Care Excellence (NICE) proposes that women with low risk pregnancies should be encouraged to give birth in midwife-led birth centres, rather than on a traditional labour ward.
‘Since we published our original guidance, more evidence has come to light about the benefits and risks associated with giving birth at home, in an independent or hospital-based midwife-led unit and on a traditional labour ward,’ says Christine Carson, clinical guideline programme director for NICE.
‘We now know that these units are as safe as traditional labour wards for all low risk pregnant women and are more likely to result in a better birth experience with less medical intervention.’
Home Birth For First Births
The report also looked at the safety of home births, saying that in low risk pregnant women who already have a baby they are safe, but that they don’t recommend home births for first time mums.
‘Home births are just as safe as other settings for low risk pregnant women who already have at least one child, but not for women expecting their first baby,’ says Christine. ‘However, every woman should ultimately have the freedom to choose where she wants to give birth and be supported in her choice.’
The report also updated current guidelines on cutting your baby’s umbilical cord after birth. They say that the cord should not be clamped earlier than one minute after the birth of your baby unless his heartbeat falls below 60 beats per minute or there are concerns about the cord.
They stated that the cord should be clamped within five minutes if the placenta is being delivered manually (when your midwife helps to pull out your placenta). However, if you do want to wait for longer than five minutes before clamping the cord, your birth team should support your choice.
Studies have shown that delaying the cord clamping means your baby can carry on receiving and benefiting from oxygenated blood and stem cells from the placenta, and that babies who have this done have higher levels of iron in their blood.
So whether you’re opting for a hospital birth, heading to a birth centre or aiming for a home birth, the clear message from these latest guidelines is that you feel supported in your choice.
Where did you give birth and how did you find it? Let us know below.