Number of women choosing a home birth levels off in Wales

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THE number of women choosing to give birth at home in Wales has reached a plateau ...

Despite a rise in the birth rate, the percentage of home births has remained static at 3.7%.

But Wales still has the highest rate of home births in the UK.

The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) has said it was “very disappointed” about the lack of progress in Wales in raising the home birth rate.

Former Health Minister Jane Hutt said in 2003 that she wanted to see a 10% increase in the number of babies born at home over the course of a decade. And the Heads of Midwifery Advisory Group for Wales set a 10% home birth target for Wales to be achieved two years’ ago.

... “We need to see action ... to deliver on policy commitments for choice. It is vital there are enough midwives and that they are supported.”

... almost 90% of women in the UK live in areas that “realistically do not offer the choice of a home birth with a midwife”.

... “We advocate home births because, with hospital births, the worry is that there is more risk of intervention.”

... women are twice as likely to need physical intervention when giving birth in hospital than at home. Women choosing home births are also less likely to rely on pain-relieving drugs ... home births vary across Wales, from 9.5% in Bridgend to just 1.3% in Merthyr Tydfil.

“A target of 10% is quite a reasonable target. You would have to ask the Welsh Assembly Government why there is such a difference between areas. Sometimes it is down to midwife staffing levels but I would hope that is being looked at ...

... “Home births provide women with an environment where they can feel more comfortable and as relaxed as possible ...

I live for the day when Australia has a 10% home birth target!! We're currently at about 0.3%.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448