Women now have an average of two children but NHS cost-cutting is decreasing chances of a home birth
The number of homebirths in the UK is on the decline. One in 40 women now gives birth at home, which is down from one in three 50 years ago, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The decrease has been blamed on NHS cost-cutting. A major contributing factor has been funds moving from local resources such as midwives, into hospitals.Only 2.5% of women in England had a home birth in 2010 out 679,638 births. This goes against the Government’s commitment to bring services closer to home, claims Louise Silverton, the deputy general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives. Up to 11% of women hope and plan to have a home birth with a trusted midwife, yet this one-to-one care is proving hard to secure. Women aged 35 to 39 more commonly choose this option, with only 1% of under-20s keen for a home birth. The stats also revealed that women now have an average of two children, which is the highest fertility rate since 1973. IVF treatment has played a large part in this with multiple births rising 6.8% since 2000. All women should be offered the choice to give birth at home urges the National Childbirth Trust (NCT), who are keen to see a reversal in this trend.
Did you plan to give birth at home? And did you get to? Share your experience below.
The NHS is not exclusively to blame - we are in a medical-central culture where the majority of people feel safer in hospital. However, I had a home birth for my 2nd daughter and it was the best decision I ever made. If women could see a home birth for themselves, they may change their mind. Maybe they can bring the ideas into Antenatal classes?
It a sad fact that the majority of babies were born at home up until the 60's and then it all switched to obstetric care in the hospital setting. You are thought to be 'out of the norm' if you have a home birth now and I have had many different reactions about my choice to birth at home - good and bad. Most people say "wow, you're brave" - but its not about being brave!!
At the end of the the day, midwifery is about "women-centred care" which means that the mother's choice is at the centre of her care - and not everybody's personal choices are the same.
I also hire out Birth Pools and had both my children at home. I had wonderful experiences with my NHS midwives and it saddens me to know that this may not be an option for others.
© Immediate Media Company Ltd 2012. This website is owned and published by Immediate Media Company Limited. www.immediatemedia.co.uk