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Comment on NHS suspending home births in some areas of country

Siobhan Miller, founder of ThePositive Birth Company, comments on the NHS suspending home births in some areas of the country:The coronavirus is already causing a huge amount of anxiety and concern especially amongst pregnant women. Not only are they in the high-risk category, their antenatal and postnatal classes, groups and clinics have been cancelled, birth partners are no longer able to attend appointments with them or in some cases even be present at the birth, and friends and family who would usually be a source of support are in lockdown. With the NHS increasingly stretched, there is also now a real concern that there won’t be enough midwives or hospital beds available when it comes to giving birth, or even if it’s safe to leave the house to go to the hospital.

“We knew tighter restrictions were likely to come into force but with the NHS now suspending home births in some areas of the country as well as the use of freestanding midwifery units (birth centres), anxiety will be heightened further. We know that thousands of pregnant women across the UK are concerned about not being able to give birth where they had planned, or whether they will even be able to have their birth partner with them.

“A home birth gives women greater control over who comes into their birth space and who they come into contact with, which is very important during self-isolation and lockdown. Home can also feel like the safest place to be for a lot of women at the moment during the lockdown as it is strongly recommended everyone stays at home to save lives.

“As a first step, we recommend pregnant women should get in touch with their midwife or local maternity hospital to find out what options are available to them in their area, so they can prepare accordingly if plans have to change. There’s also a huge amount of digital services and online courses available to help educate and empower pregnant women during this difficult time, and provide them with much-needed reassurance and support as well as access to a number of healthcare professionals. For example, in addition to our award-winning online hypnobirthing course, the ‘digital pack’, we’re running a range of free Q&A sessions with experts every night this week on our Instagram page. We’ve also halved the price of our digital postpartum pack to just £20, to give more new mums and birth partners access to the expert knowledge, practical tools and support they need to confidently navigate the fourth trimester. For those who face giving birth without their partner present, we recommend using a virtual birth partner, such as our Freya app. Freya will coach you through every surge and help you relax in between and ensure you never give birth alone.”

Photo: Natalia Deriabina/Shutterstock.com

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