Aarti, a member of the MadeForMums Top Testers Club community, had an unexpected home birth, with her GP mum delivering the baby Rian, who weighed 7lbs 14oz, on February 16th.


A membrane sweep is a way of helping to bring labour on if you go past your due date. It's a quick procedure in which a midwife or doctor 'sweeps' their gloved finger around the neck of your womb (cervix) to try to separate the membranes of your baby's amniotic sac from the cervix. This can cause your body to release hormones that can trigger labour.

This is Aarti's unplanned home birth story:

"For my second pregnancy I had a membrane sweep in the hospital at 40 weeks pregnant and was told labour may begin within 24-48 hours. I remember being quite nervous for the sweep as I found the internal examinations during my first labour to be extremely painful. Thankfully the sweep was only slightly uncomfortable, similar to a smear test.

"My mum, a GP, offered to stay over at our house that night in case I needed help with the toddler or if labour was to begin. With my first pregnancy, the sweep did nothing and I ended up being induced. This time round, I didn’t have any signs of labour either so I wasn’t hopeful that the sweep would do anything. I almost told my mum not to bother coming, but I’m so glad I didn’t!

That same night at around 2am, 8 hours after the sweep, I was experiencing pain which was mild but regular – about 10 mins apart

"The pain was enough to wake me up, but felt more like period pains, and I was able to breathe through them. I woke my husband who gave me an encouraging rub on the back and told me the contractions were 'exciting'!

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"From my experiences of first labour, I knew there was no point in us both being awake through the night so I told him to sleep and that I would wake him if they got worse. Safe to say he was asleep before I finished my sentence!

"I started tracking my contractions using the first contraction timer app I could find on the App Store, and they got closer together around 4am until they varied between 5 and 7 minutes. I woke my husband who put the TENS machine on me, which helped a lot.

"Around 5am the contractions were regularly 5 minutes apart, although they were still mild. I called my hospital, as my midwife had told me that as it was my second pregnancy, I should call them when my contractions were 5 minutes apart. The midwife took some details but told me to stay at home and keep monitoring, as my waters hadn’t broken yet and the contractions were mild. Shortly after that, they seemed to slow down and become milder and I was actually able to sleep through them.

"At 6.45am I woke up my mum as I was still contracting and they were getting a bit stronger. I was still able to breathe through them and walk around, but my mum suggested we call the hospital just in case. The midwives again were very relaxed and said that I might as well start making my way in because central London traffic may be bad!

"Around 7am I started to get ready. Our 2-year-old’s nursery was on the way to the hospital so our plan was to drop him there at 7.30am and then make our way to the hospital.

"At 7.15am I was brushing my teeth when my contractions suddenly went from 0-100 and the pain was immense. The contractions went from around 5 minutes to what felt like non-stop, so with great difficulty I managed to clamber into my bedroom to change my clothes.

"I remember shouting to my husband and mum “I don’t think we’ll have time to drop off at nursery!”

"Whilst struggling to change out of my pyjamas (which were completely tangled into the tens machine), I felt a huge and extremely painful contraction, along with which my waters broke and gushed out, just like in the movies!

I was crumpled on the floor in incredible pain with the urge to push and my mum and husband came running in and lifted me onto the bed. I can still hear my poor little 2-year-old, watching me in distress shouting: 'What’s happening to mummy!'

"Thankfully my husband was on toddler duty and was there reassuring him I was ok.

"I remember telling myself that no matter how painful, I just needed to get the baby out safely. I used every ounce of energy I had in me. At 7.25am, after 5 minutes and 3 pushes later baby Rian was delivered by my mum, with my 2-year-old and husband watching! He cried straight away, which was a massive relief to us all.

I think we were all a bit shell-shocked by it all, although my toddler's first reaction was to go to his room and pick out a toy for him to share with his baby brother. How I wish this enthusiasm for sharing remained!

"Amidst all the chaos, my husband had managed to call 999, and an ambulance was dispatched immediately although it didn’t arrive until about 5 minutes after my baby was born. Although my mum had been a doctor for 35 years, she said it had been 30 years since she delivered a baby, so the paramedic on the phone provided helpful support.

"I remember hearing her tell my husband to find something clean and sterile to clamp the cord. She suggested a shoelace however my mum managed to find an unused face mask and took the string from that.

"When the ambulance arrived soon after I was still in a lot of pain as the placenta hadn’t been delivered. It was almost as painful as the worst contractions! There were 4 paramedics, 2 of whom were attending to my baby (wrapping him up in towels, and turning on portable heaters to make the room really warm). The other two paramedics (and my mum) were kneeling on the bed around me, trying various things to deliver the placenta.

"Our bed was broken in the process! Eventually, they made me stand up which was extremely painful and uncomfortable, but it did the trick.

"My husband relayed to them that we wanted delayed cord clamping, so after I and baby had both been cleaned up and checked, my husband cut the cord. We were then taken in the ambulance to the hospital to do the necessary checks. Sadly with all the chaos at the hospital, I didn’t get the tea and toast that I had been looking forward to but luckily my gem of a mum had thought ahead and packed me a jam toastie just in case!

"We are still in disbelief to this day that it happened like this but it was very special.

"My neighbours couldn’t believe it when we told them as they didn’t hear a thing. My now 3-year-old still talks about it and tells everyone how his baby brother came out of mummy's belly in the bedroom."

Pic credit: Aarti Jagpal. As told to Janet Mtima

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