Welcome to Ipswich Hospital
Our Passion, Your Care
Home Birth

For women with no complications in pregnancy, childbirth is generally very safe.

Home birth is an option for women who are experiencing a low risk pregnancy and have no medical conditions that would contraindicate having a baby in the home setting. Please see the link below for our home birth booklet information that will help you to plan and prepare for a birth at home.

A recent study (known as the ‘Birthplace study’) looked at a large number of women with no complications in pregnancy and compared the safety of births in four settings. The study showed that for women who planned to give birth at home (or in a midwife-led unit) there is a higher likelihood of a normal birth and significantly less intervention such as Caesarean section, epidural, episiotomy or instrumental birth.

Points to consider for a home birth

  • Birth in a familiar and comfortable environment.
  • Keeps the birth process as normal as possible.
  • Women who give birth at home report needing fewer drugs for pain relief or intervention in labour.
  • Less disruption to family life.
  • Reduced risk of hospital acquired infection.


  • You may have to transfer to hospital if there are certain complications.
  • You will need to transfer to hospital if you decide you would like an epidural.
  • The transfer rate to hospital for first time mothers is approximately 30% although it is less for mothers who have had a baby before (Birthplace Study 2011).
  • For women having their first baby, there is a slightly increased risk of a poorer outcome for the baby compared to women who give birth in a midwife-led unit or obstetric unit (1 in 110 risk of a poor outcome for a home birth compared to 1 in 190 for women in an obstetric unit). There is no increased risk for women having their second or subsequent baby who choose to deliver at home.

There is a focus on keeping labour and birth normal. In the privacy of your home you will be encouraged to remain active and to adopt upright positions in labour, as we know this will increase the chances of having a normal birth in a shorter time.

Who will be present at home birth?

  • Midwives will provide one to one care during your labour and birth.

What pain relief methods can I use at home?

  • Water (you will need to hire or buy your own birthing pool).
  • TENS machine (hired or bought).
  • Complementary therapies.
  • Entonox (gas and oxygen) is provided by the midwife.
  • Injectable pain relief (pethidine) can be arranged with your midwife.
  • Birthing aids such as mats and birthing balls (bought or hired).
  • Hypnobirthing courses are available to help prepare parents for the birth.

If you are having your baby at home your midwife will discuss with you what additional items you will need to protect the bed or furniture, and items for your baby. She will provide you with an information leaflet about this.

After the birth

Midwives would normally stay with you for 2-3 hours after giving birth and your community midwife will provide the normal post-birth support.

Arrangements will be made for your baby to have a full neonatal assessment by a midwife or a doctor within 72 hours. This may either be done by a community midwife in your home, or you may have to take your baby for an outpatient appointment at Ipswich Hospital - your midwife will be able to arrange this for you.

Please do discuss the option of home birth with your midwife. If you plan to have a home birth the community midwife will come and complete a home birth plan with you as part of a pre-birth visit.