Choosing Where to Have Your Baby262
It’s important to think carefully about what sort of care you want and where you would like to give birth. Your options will depend to some extent on where you live but it is always a good idea to discuss your birth plan, which is a record of your choices, with your doctor and your partner. You can also go and look round the local maternity services and if you do, it’s helpful to go armed with some questions to ask about what sort of care you can expect.
Choosing where to have your baby
You can give birth at home or in hospital. The choice you have about where to have your baby will depend on your needs and risks and, to some extent, on where you live. Wherever you choose, the place should feel right for you.
Giving birth is generally safe wherever you choose to have your baby, although there is not much research that compares how safe different places are. However, women who give birth at home are those who are less likely to need assistance, for example through the use of forceps or a ventouse (sometimes called instrumental delivery).
If you choose to give birth at home, you should be given information by your doctor about what would happen if you need to be transferred to hospital during labour, and how long this would take. If something goes seriously wrong during your labour (which is rare) it could be worse for you or your baby than if you were in hospital with access to specialised care.
You may be advised to give birth in hospital if you have or develop certain medical conditions.
Making an informed decision
It’s important that you and your partner have all the information you need to make choices about where you would like to give birth. It is your choice, and even after you have decided where you want to have your baby, you can still change your mind. Your doctor will discuss the options that are available in your area, though you are free to choose any maternity services if you are willing to travel.
As well as your nurse, you can get information from:
- your doctors clinic
- local maternity units
- maternity services liaison committees (ask at your local hospital's maternity unit)
- a supervisor of midwives, or SOM, (find out more about an SOM in meet the antenatal team)
Talk to your doctor about going to have a look around around the local maternity services. Don't hesitate to ask questions (see a list of helpful questions) if you don't understand something or if you think you need to know more. You may also want to get advice from your friends and family.