You've probably realised that being pregnant involves lots of decisions and a pretty big one of these is exactly where you'll give birth. Depending on the type of pregnancy you've had and even where you live, your choices will vary but to give you an idea of what your options could be, we've rounded up our articles where you find out more information to help you make a decision.
Don't forget to check out our positive birth stories to give you a burst of encouragement.
Where can I give birth?
How to choose where to give birth
There's no magic answer to this one we've afraid! It's important you and your birth partner are on the same page so we'd recommend talking about it extensively and weighing up the positives and negatives.
Your midwife is your best port of call to chat to about what is available to you personally as unfortunately, sometimes the clinical support you require will rule out certain options such as a home birth.
Don't forget to make use of friends and family who have given birth too, and find out what their experiences were. But don't worry if what you are leaning towards is different. After all, every birth - and every baby - is different.
Whatever you decide, it has to be right for you and remember, you can change your mind at any point in your pregnancy.
What factors should I consider?
60 per cent of women end up giving birth at the place of their choice, so it's wise to really sit down and think about what you want. Here are a few factors to consider...
- How far will you need to travel to get to the destination? You won't want to go far!
- What pain relief options will be available?
- If you really want a water birth, are there facilities so this is possible?
- Is your partner able to stay?
- Who will be looking after you during your pregnancy and the labour?
- What care can you expect post-birth? Will there be breastfeeding support if this is something you'd like?
The majority of women will give birth in an NHS hospital maternity unit where you'll be looked after by midwives generally with doctors on hand if necessary. You'll have direct access t obstetricians, anaesthetists and there will be specialists in newborn care (neonatologists) and a special care baby unit should any problems arise.
Midwife-led units are staffed entirely by midwives, unlike traditional obstetric labour wards where doctors and anaesthetists are present. There are two kinds of midwife-led birthing centres: stand-alone birth centres and wards attached to hospitals. In both cases, all care is carried out by midwives who are experts in childbirth with all the skills to help you deliver your baby in a straightforward pregnancy. Read about Katie's experience of a midwife-led unit.
Giving birth at home can often progress more smoothly because women are more relaxed. It can mean less disruption to the flow of labour, more freedom to move about, sleep, eat and focus.
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