Home, Hospital or Midwife led unit?
Many women don’t realise (especially with first pregnancies) that they actually have a choice regarding where they give birth – and that decision can be incredibly important when considering the type of birth they are hoping for.
It is unfortunately common for first timers to hear the words “ooh, well best you go into a ‘proper’ unit with all the safety procedures in place – because we don’t know how you will labour” – AAARRRRGHGHGHGGH!!!!!
This would be a little like saying to a guy – “well, I know you have an amazing car that is built for high performance, but best you have a mechanic travelling with you continuously in case it goes wrong – and that you don’t ever drive more than 30 miles an hour because we don’t know how you will cope with the power”. Most guys would throw the mechanic out – replace them with a mate or a girlfriend and put their foot to the pedal for the “thrill” of it all. – and statistically they are far more likely to perish in a car wreck than a mother or a baby at a birth.
So when we are talking to women about the birth place options available to them we need to be honest about their risk factors and openly discuss the differences between:
Obstetric unit (hospital birth)
Or Midwife led unit.
How do you know which is best for you? You could read the Royal College of Midwives document Birth Place decisions as a starting point – but quite a lot of it comes down to gut instinct. If the thought of hospital terrifies you then obviously home may be a consideration. Conversely, some women are just stunned that some women would even think about birthing outside without medical help – and obviously for them a hospital may be the best choice.
Home: Great for those that have done a lot of homework, would prefer to be in their own surroundings with as many friends / family / children with them as they wish and totally trust in their bodies ability to birth. Generally most suited to low risk women.
Hospital: Sensible choice for those with higher risk pregnancies, those that would like all pain relief options available to them, couples that just feel “safer” in medical units and may wish to enjoy postnatal support in the early days.
Midwife led unit – kind of a half way mark between home and hospital. Beautifully decorated centres that are ran by midwives with a holistic and low risk approach to birthing. No doctors or epidurals, but transfer into the obstetric unit is usually manageable within minutes. Suitable for those that really understand their bodies abilities but for whatever reason would prefer not to be in their own home.
Not only can women in the West Midlands choose between all of the above options, but they can even travel out of area to other units if they feel the support offered would be more suited to their birth choices – you do not have to birth at your local unit – we are SO privileged in this area to have TRUE choice available – please take advantage of those options by considering where to birth.
You could visit the Which? Birth Choice website for details about the place you are choosing to birth in – but I would recommend asking around your area for local information. Each and every unit has it’s particular areas of expertise, and these are best discovered by talking to other mothers that may have used the local services recently.
If you would like to tour any of the units please just give them a call to arrange – alternatively you could join us at our Free Pregnancy evenings in Solihull which are held at Netherbrook birth centre and include a tour and opportunity to “meet the midwives”.