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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Labour and birth

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

The leaflet 'Birth place decisions' 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. The information in the leaflet is based on the largest study of birth outcomes in various settings prior to August 2019.

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', giving birth in a midwifery-led unit reduces the need for unnecessary medical intervention for women who meet these criteria.

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

Home birth video

Should I consider home birth?

Duration: 7 minutes 24 seconds

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.

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 -