One of the most important things to decide when you’re expecting a child in Brighton is whether to opt for a home birth or hospital birth.
Both come with their own benefits and disadvantages, which can make it tricky when trying to decide which option is best for you.
That’s why we at The Parents Class wanted to put together a list of pros and cons, so that you’re able to make an informed decision.
Home birthing is becoming an increasingly popular option among expectant parents who want to benefit from the increased comfort and intimacy offered by the familiarity of a home environment.
Currently, home births account for 2% of all UK births, decreasing from a high of around 30% in 1955. But just because they aren’t as common as hospital births, doesn’t mean they’re any less safe or viable. Indeed, according to the ONS, the number of home births has increased since 2019 from 2.1% to 2.4%.
- The comfort of familiarity:
Giving birth at home means you’ll be in a familiar and comfortable environment, which can be helpful for reducing anxiety and stress levels during labour. This sense of comfort can contribute to helping to minimise the chance of complications both for you and baby.
- Personalised care:
Giving birth at home can mean that you receive personalised care from a midwife who you’ve developed a close relationship with and who knows your birth plan inside out.
The midwife who will be there during your homebirth will be a community midwife; the same one who you would’ve seen throughout your pregnancy. Having access to this personalised care can lead to a more tailored, and even safer birthing experience.
- More control:
Home birthing can also give you more control over the whole birthing process. By opting for a home birth you’ll have greater freedom to choose your preferred birthing positions, such as upright birthing positions, whether you want to use a pool or bath, along with certain pain relief options, such as the use of a TENS machine or gas and air.
- Enhanced Privacy:
Opting for a home birth can offer a greater sense of privacy than giving birth on a maternity ward. You can have the privacy and intimacy of your own home without the presence of unnecessary attendants, and without needing to limit your access to your birth partner, providing a serene environment for bonding with your newborn.
Home birthing is generally just as safe as hospital birthing. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that for first time births, home birthing can slightly increase the risks of complications or problems for the baby.
However, if you’re expecting your second or third child, home birthing is just as safe as hospital birthing. There is also a lower chance of having an assisted delivery, such as a caesarean section or episiotomy.
Things to consider:
- Limited access to medical resources:
Having a home birth can limit the type and kind of medical equipment, personnel and medicine you have access to. Epidurals, for instance, are unable to be administered in a planned home birth owing to the need for an anaesthetist.
- Potential issues with transport:
If complications arise during a home birth, the need for emergency transport to a hospital can be stressful and may delay crucial medical intervention. You should be offered a homebirth no matter where you live, however, your midwife will carry out a risk assessment to determine whether your home is accessible for an ambulance if necessary.
Hospitals offer a more medically-focused, and less intimate approach to childbirth.
When you’re considering having a hospital birth in or around Brighton, here are some things to remember:
- Medical expertise and resources:
The main benefit of having a hospital birth is that you’ll have access to highly-trained medical professionals, including obstetricians, anaesthetists, and neonatologists, who will be able to swiftly attend to any situations or problems should they arise.
If you’re expecting your first child or have any underlying health issues that could give rise to complications during labour, you may be better supported by a hospital birth.
- Pain Management Options:
Similarly, if you’re wanting access to advanced pain relief options, such as an epidural, hospitals like the Royal Sussex County Hospital have the facilities to provide this, giving you the opportunity to manage your pain effectively.
Things to consider:
- Less Personalised Care:
Hospital birthing may sometimes feel less personal. For instance, you may end up being looked after by a different midwife than the one you had been in contact with during your pregnancy.
- Unplanned intervention:
With a hospital birth you’re more likely to have unplanned interventions to help with your delivery, such as an episiotomy or a forceps or ventouse delivery.
- Limited Autonomy:
Hospital protocols and policies may restrict your choices, including birthing positions and the availability of a pool for a water birth. However, being clear about your birth options with your hospital by providing them with a detailed birth plan can help prevent this.
What should I choose?
The decision between home birthing and hospital birthing in Brighton ultimately comes down to your personal preferences, comfort level, and any medical considerations you may have.
Both options have their advantages and drawbacks, and it’s essential to weigh them carefully. Be sure to also speak to your health professional.
Regardless of your choice, make sure that you receive in-depth information ahead of time about your birthing options, so that you feel prepared and confident making informed decisions for you and your baby.
One of the best ways to make sure that you know your options ahead of time is by attending an antenatal course.
Our 12 hour courses can be completed over six weeks or just one weekend and our NMC qualified expert midwives will help you to learn about cutting edge topics that could make help you have a better birth.
Topics such as the instinctive power of upright birthing, the health benefits for your baby of delayed cord clamping and the regenerative potential of stem cell banking, plus many, many more.
We’ll also help you plan ahead so that you’re able to make decisions, like whether you should opt for a home or hospital birth, with confidence.
If you’re looking to prepare for your little one’s arrival in Brighton then book your place, today!