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Where to Give Birth

Pregnant women are very well taken care of in the UK. The many free NHS services that expectant mothers can make use of ensure that regardless of the mother’s income, both her and her child are in safe and capable hands. Our guide on having a baby in the UK offers an overview.
If you are expecting your first child, giving birth at a hospital might be a wise choice.

As an expectant mother, you have a number of different options of where to give birth, provided you are healthy and have a low risk of experiencing complications. However, depending on where you live, not all of the below options may be available. The NHS stresses that all options are safe for both the mother and the child, but mentions some things to keep in mind.

Hospital birth is the most common option. Hospitals are also regarded as the safest place to give birth. The quality of care you can expect to receive in the maternity unit of any hospital in the UK is, of course, well up to international standards. If you are having your first child, giving birth in a hospital should be your preferred option, as you and the team of professionals looking after you will be able to react a lot quicker to any unforeseen circumstances.

Maternity clinics are a more comfortable and homely alternative to hospitals. You might want to consider giving birth at a midwifery unit or birth center. These can either be part of a hospital or be situated in an entirely separate building. While there are also other advantages, for example a greater chance that the midwife you got to know during pregnancy will be present, midwifery units are obviously less well-equipped in certain regards. This means you might have to be transferred to a hospital, should any complications occur.

Home birth can also be a viable option. For women who have already had one or more children, giving birth in the comfort of their own home is every bit as safe as in a hospital. However, whether or not this option is open to you depends on a variety of factors including your health, whether you are expecting twins, or how long it would take to transfer you to a hospital if anything does not go as planned. According to the NHS, around one in 50 babies in England is born at home. However, there is a lot of planning involved — you should discuss the matter in depth with your midwife before you make a decision. 

NHS England offers a comprehensive online guide on the topics of pregnancy and childbirth. There, you will not only find answers to administrative and practical questions, but also tips on dealing with the impact that your pregnancy has on your life and your family.


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