If you are fit and well, have no medical conditions and have a straightforward pregnancy you could choose to have your baby at home.

There are three dedicated home birth teams in Dorset to support mums to have their baby at home:

For more information on choosing where to have you baby, click here.

When you book to have a home birth, you’ll be looked after by community midwives who cover your local area. They work in small teams, and you can get to know them throughout your pregnancy.

When you go into labour, one of the local midwives will come to your house to support you. As labour progresses, a second midwife normally joins you so there are two midwives there for the birth of your baby.

Who can have a home birth?

Home birth is particularly recommended for women who have given birth before. This doesn’t mean that first time mums shouldn’t consider a home birth, but you should talk through your own circumstances with the home birth team.

Pain Relief Options

Next, think about the distance of the nearest hospital from your home – how long would it take you to get there during busy times, especially if this is a second or subsequent labour?

If you or your baby need additional monitoring or care, your consultant may tell you that you need to give birth in a consultant-led unit, but you may still be able to choose which one (e.g. University Hospitals Dorset or Dorset County Hospital). We recommend talking to your consultant or midwife about your personal options.

Looking at the statistics for each location will give you more information – for midwife-led units, this will tell you how many transfers have been necessary, how long transfers take, and other useful statistics. For consultant-led units, you can see information on the number of assisted births, caesareans, and so on. Lots of women find that these statistics are a useful part of choosing where to give birth.

Why have a home birth?

One of the benefits of planning to give birth at home is that your midwife will only be looking after you and won’t be responsible for anyone else at the same time.

  • Dedicated care

  • Be in control

  • Private and familiar surroundings

  • Remain comfortable and relaxed

  • Freedom

  • Promotes normality

  • Keeps the family together

Talk to us for more information

If you are interested in a home birth, please let your Team Midwife know, so they can arrange for your nearest home birth team to contact you. The home birth teams also hold monthly information sessions so that you can find out more:

These sessions give you an opportunity to meet your local team, ask questions, and meet recent home birth families. Please ask your Midwife for more information about these sessions and for venue locations.

The Cygnet Home birth team can also be found Facebook and Twitter.

Transferring to a hospital

On rare occasions we may need to transfer you to a labour ward. This is rarely an emergency scenario but transfers are usually in an ambulance.

Nationally available statistics about reasons and rates for transfer from home birth and midwifery unit led births to an obstetric unit can be found in NICE guidance about ‘planning place of birth’. Please speak with your community midwife to understand the most to date local rates and reasons for transfer.

Reasons for transfer include:

  • If you want extra pain relief, such as an epidural, which are not available at home.

  • If your labour is progressing slowly and you would like some help to speed it up.

  • If you or the baby is not coping well with labour and it would be safer for you to be in hospital. This can be during or immediately after birth.

If you are transferred to a hospital, it may not be the nearest one to where you live, you may be transferred to the hospital where your community midwives are based.

Your midwife will usually come with you to the hospital and then you will be looked after by the midwives that work on the hospital labour ward.

After you’ve given birth

After you have given birth, the midwife will stay with you until they’re sure that you and your baby are doing well, and your baby has had its first feed.

A midwife will normally visit you the day after the birth. They will then discuss and agree a schedule of visits with you that might take place at home or at a local clinic. They will also let you know when your care will be handed over to a local Health Visitor who will continue to provide you with support.