Birth at home?

Birth at home?

Birth at home?

I have so many fond memories of the many homebirths I attended as a caseload community midwife across South East London. Birthing bags packed, car full of petrol, sat nav in the car, and my BlackBerry mobile fully charged – I was always at the ready to be called to attend a homebirth. It was exciting and a magical experience.

For many, births at home are pre-planned– this means that the woman / birthing people and their partners have time during the antenatal period to discuss and plan their homebirth with their midwives; a comprehensive home visit talking about the set-up and the practicalities involved in addition to some safety checks such as running hot water, electricity and good access in-case of the need to transfer to hospital.

Birth at home can also be ‘unplanned’. The unplanned element often occurs when labour and birth progresses well and the mother / birthing person decide to stay. This usually happens after an experienced midwife conducts a thorough well-being assessment of both and that there  are no conflicting clinical concerns for them to stay at home, or, in some cases, birth is very imminent and there is little choice but to stay at home (to avoid giving birth in the car).

Homebirths are unique and special on so many levels. Homebirths are always attended by 2 very skilled midwives, working collaboratively with the obstetric and midwifery team at the local hospital in addition to the ambulance service.

Women and birthing people report high levels of satisfaction and feel very positive towards their birthing experience.

We have also learnt from studies that home births are considered safe, especially for second-time mothers / birthing people with an uncomplicated pregnancy (no risk factors).

I completely understand that homebirth is not everyone’s cup of tea, but regardless, I believe all women and birthing people should at least have the freedom to choose.

Unlike the U.K, the option of and provision for a homebirth is not available to all women and birthing people in Spain. The provision of homebirth as a choice of birth setting is only for those who can afford to pay for a private, independent midwife.

It seems so unfair to so many women and birthing people in Spain who are denied a homebirth because they are unable to cover the cost.