Planning birth –
The birth of your baby should be a wonderful, life-changing experience for you and for your family. It is a time of new beginnings, of fresh hopes and new dreams, of change and opportunity.
Ideally you will be able to make an informed choice re your place of birth and the options available within each setting, with your birth partner and your midwifery team – especially if you have joined one of our antenatal and hypnobirthing courses.
There are been various studies and reviews of the maternity services provided within the NHS to date. For my purpose here, I need to inform you re the Birthplace in England programme, led by researchers at Oxford University’s National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit. This was commissioned by the Department of Health in 2007, when the maternity policy stated that:
‘Every woman should be able to choose the most appropriate place and professional to attend her during childbirth based on her wishes and cultural preferences and any medical and obstetric needs she and her baby may have’.
In 2011, this cohort study published findings re the safety of births, planned in 4 different settings –
- At home
- In an obstetric unit
- In a free-standing midwifery led unit
- In an alongside midwifery led unit.
The main findings, related to healthy women with straight forward pregnancies, who met NICE intrapartum care guidelines criteria for a ‘low risk’ birth, suggested that birth itself is generally very safe and that midwifery units appear to offer benefits for mothers – risk of intervention is reduced – whilst being safer for the baby.
You need to also be aware of the Better Births study, which took place in 2015. This was inspirational and resulted in recommendations- over a 5 year timeframe – before covid 19. It examined maternity outcomes for all women – focussing on the huge gaps being experienced by some groups of women in specific health care settings. It aimed for choices and wanted women’s voices to be heard. This study promoted the need for personalised care and valued the concept of having continuity from a carer very highly.
However, every pregnancy and every birth differ, so you need to trust your instincts when planning your birth….
You are focussed upon a calm and natural birth – where you are in control and feel confident. It is good to consider the following points –
- Respect and support for hypnobirthing. A calm safe and natural place of birth
- Birth partner to be with you throughout – be involved with decisions BRAINS
- Soft lighting
- Facility to play relaxations/music
- Use of pool for labour and birth
- Partner to cut cord following delayed cord clamping
- Active management of third stage – or not?
- Skin to skin contact (golden hour) – alone
- Initiation of breast feeding
- Availability of drugs – epidurals/opiates
- Instrumental procedures – ventouse/forceps/caesarean section
- Monitoring your baby during labour
- What ifs … u need an emergency procedure/your baby is unwell at birth/during labour