Choosing Where to Give Birth: Things to Consider

To make the experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible, it's a good idea to contemplate exactly where you want to give birth in advance.

Giving birth is often the most memorable and rewarding experience of a woman’s life. Although very challenging on the body, childbirth marks the beginning of a new life – and the beginning of parenthood. In order to make the experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible, it’s a good idea to contemplate exactly where you want to give birth in advance. While most people will opt for the local hospital, there are some interesting alternatives available.

Giving birth in a dedicated maternity hospital

Choosing to give birth in a private maternity hospital could give you the best of everything. Private rooms and suites offer a level of privacy and comfort usually reserved for top hotels, so you can enjoy a similar experience to a home birth whilst being close to potentially life-saving facilities, midwives and consultants. You will also get the chance to receive one-to-one care from a midwife or consultant throughout your labour – which can be reassuring during the rigours of childbirth.

  1. Giving birth at home or at a midwife-only birthing unit might be more appealing than having your baby at the local hospital, but it’s important to remember that you and your baby will need to be transferred to a hospital in the unlikely event that something should go wrong. However, opting to have your baby in a private maternity ward will ensure that a resident obstetric consultant is on hand throughout your labour. You will also have the peace of mind in knowing that a number of emergency facilities are on site:

* An emergency operating theatre

* An obstetric consultant anaesthetist on call at all times

* A high dependency unity

* Neo-natal intensive care facilities

* A special baby care unit

* Extensive ultrasound and foetal medicine facilities

While giving birth at home is an appealing thought to many expectant mums, it’s important to consider the risks involved during childbirth – however small they are. Book your place at the Portland Maternity Openday, and discover how you can have all the creature comforts of home and cutting-edge maternity care under one roof.

Giving birth at home

While there is a slightly increased risk of complications during a home birth when compared to a clinically-led birth, the increased risk is negligible. If you are considered to be at low risk of complications, you might be given the option of a home birth by your midwife or GP. However, it’s important to remember that, in the unlikely event of something going wrong during labour, your home won’t be equipped with the very latest, life-saving equipment.

Statistics show that women who give birth in a dedicated maternity unit are less likely to require an assisted delivery – such as a forceps or ventouse delivery. If you have underlying health conditions, or you’ve experienced complications during your pregnancy thus far, it is very unlikely that your clinicians will recommend giving birth at home.

Giving birth in a midwifery unit

Midwifery units – sometimes referred to as birthing centres – are environments solely dedicated to the delivery of babies. Typically, such units are more homely and comfortable than hospitals, and they provide both expectant mums and visitors with a little more freedom in terms of care and the ability to come and go.

While a midwifery unit might provide an added level of comfort, there are some important things to consider before deciding this is the best option for your own labour. For instance, if you or your baby needs emergency or special care during or after labour, there is a good chance that you will need to be transferred to a hospital. And because these units are midwife-led, certain pain relief and emergency procedures will be unavailable.

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