There’s no place like home for bringing new life into the world according to a Romsey midwife.
Barbara Wyant has welcomed this week’s publication of new guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) about the safety of home births.
The Birthplace Study – the largest carried out into the safety of different maternity settings, involving almost 65,000 births in England – found midwife-led care was just as safe as doctor-led hospital care for low-risk deliveries.
Home births were just as safe as hospitals for low-risk pregnant women who already had at least one child.
There was a higher risk of complications for first-time mothers but the risk of harm was still small – less than one in every 100 deliveries, said NICE.
Barbara, who is also an antenatal teacher, has run a free homebirth information group in the Romsey/ Southampton area for the last decade and believes that home is the safest option for expectant mums who are classed as low risk.
“Being at home allows a woman to be calm and relaxed and let the hormones flow which promotes a normal birth,” said Barbara.
“It’s also cheaper for the NHS.”
She said the cases of “interventions” whether that be the use of forceps or a Caesarean were far fewer in home births – ten per cent as compared to 40 per cent in hospitals.
The drive to hospital alone is enough to create anxiety, which stimulates the production of adrenaline which works against a smooth birth, explained Barbara.
Barbara’s homebirth group, which meets at various venues around the area, allows parents who are thinking of having a home birth and those who have already done so to exchange ideas and information.
Fathers are often anxious about the practicalities of home birth – so Barbara runs “dads” sessions where they can talk to other dads, and do practical tasks, such as assembling a birth pool.
The homebirth workshops also have an active Facebook group with more than 100 members.
Many women are already “scared” of giving birth having been bombarded with TV programmes, fictional and factual, which show problem deliveries.
Barabara and her colleague, Zana Parker, now run hypnotherapy sessions for expectant mums to teach them relaxation techniques.