In A Midwifeled Unit Qrbirthingcentre

Th i s i s usually a much smaller un i t w i th care prov i ded by mi dw i ves. They're sometimes located i n the same hospi tal as the materni ty uni ts where the obstetr i c i ans work, but often occupy a separate bu ildi ng. They're not cons i dered h i gh tech, and are ai med at women w i th uncompl i cated pregnanc i es and no ant i c ipated problems i n labour.

Are they safe?

Th i s i s a safe opti on for a low-r i sk pregnancy. Some uni ts assess women to see i f the i r health i s appropr i ately'lowr i sk'. Emergency equi pment and drugs are ava ilable, but a woman needi ng i ntervent ion would be transferred to a consultant-lediun t.i

What are the pros?

•A'normal'b i rth i smore l i kely when women are cared for by mi dw i ves i n a b i rthi ng centre or at home

• If you share hous ing, eg, l i ve w i th fr i ends or fam i ly members, you may feel more comfortable us ing a b i rthi ng centre than stay ing at home.

• B i rthi ng centres are often less 'cl i ni cal'than hospi tals, descri bed as a'home from home'.

What are the drawbacks?

• You'llneed to transfer to hosp ital i n labour i f compl i cat i ons ar i se (although qu i te often i t's nearby).

So, when should you decide where to give birth...?

If you're unsure about where to have your baby, why not wa i tunt il you're i n labour before you dec i de? Once the mi dw i fe has been to your home and checked you over, see how comfortable you feel. If you're relaxed and everythi ng seems to be stra i ghtforward,then there's no rush to go anywhere. But i f you suddenly feel you need to be i n hospi tal, then that's also fine.

There's no essent i al'k i t' to get i n for a home b i rth, but a few old towels can be useful. You can always tell your mi dw i fe that you're plann i ng a home b i rth, but see how you feel on the day. Noth i ng i s wr i tten i n stone!

The most i mportant th ing i s that you feel comfortable w i th wherever you dec i de to have your baby. It may be that you're a perfect cand i date for a home deli very or hav ing your baby i n a b i rthi ng centre. But i f, after talk ing w i th your mi dw i fe, you don't feel comfortable w i th these opt ions, keep on looki ng. Eventually, you'llfind what feels r i ght for you. PP

What to ask before making a decision...

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