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Labour and birth

Choosing a place to give birth is important for both you and your baby.

COVID-19 update

We have made the difficult decision to cancel all antenatal classes, tours of midwifery-led units and 'meet the midwives' events until further notice.

Please accept our apologies for any disappointment this may cause.

We have also started to offer virtual appointments.

There are some videos below that you may find helpful.

Making a decision about where to give birth

The leaflet 'Birth Choices in Oxfordshire' answers some of the questions you may have about the differences between a hospital birth, birth in a midwifery-led unit and a home birth.

We recommend that, if:

  • you are healthy and well
  • you have no medical conditions (such as diabetes or high blood pressure)
  • you are pregnant with one baby only
  • your baby is growing normally
  • you have given birth before and there were no complications (such as Caesarean section)
  • your pregnancy is between 37 and 42 weeks

then the best place for you to give birth would be in a midwifery-led unit, or in your own home.

According to the leaflet 'Birth place decisions', where these criteria are met, giving birth in a midwifery-led unit reduces the need for unnecessary medical intervention .

If you are not sure if you meet these criteria, please speak to your community midwife.

What to pack

The NHS website offers a useful guide to what to pack in your bag when you go into hospital or a midwifery-led unit to give birth, and also information about the extra items you will need if you choose to give birth at home.

Pack your bag for labour - NHS website

Birth preferences

It is useful to understand the choices available to you throughout labour and birth. It is helpful to write a birth plan for yourself and for the midwife caring for you in labour.

Although the midwife caring for you in labour will discuss your choices with you, having a birth plan means you will already have read the information about your choices, so if situations arise you can make an informed choice.

Home birth - video

Should I consider home birth?

Duration: 7 minutes 24 seconds

Midwifery-led Units in Oxfordshire - video

Choosing a place to give birth is important for both you and your baby. For more information about the options in Oxfordshire, please watch our video.

Anaesthetic procedure for elective caesarean section - video

Anaesthetic procedure for elective caesarean section (C section)

Duration: 12 minutes 1 second

Last reviewed:01 April 2022