Giving Birth in the United Kingdom

Find out what your options are when the time comes for the birth of the baby...

In the UK, there are a number of options on where to give birth. These include having the baby:

  • At home
  • At a hospital in a consultant unit
  • At a hospital in a midwifery-led unit
  • In a community unit

The voluntary organisation Birth Choice UK gives a very clear definition of each option: Click here. Mothers-to-be can fill in an online questionnaire to help make their choice, which is entirely up to the individuals involved if the pregnancy is low-risk.

For further information on the different options, see the websites of the NHS or the National Child Birth Trust.

Giving Birth

According to csections.org, one in four women in the UK give birth by Caesarean Section. Generally women are encouraged to give birth as they wish. Aids such as birthing balls and birthing pools are actively encouraged, and intervention is limited to those who need - or want it.

All women have the opportunity to meet up with other women at the same stage of pregnancy during ante-natal classes. They can discuss their concerns and fears, and learn about how to control the pain of childbirth, and to become familiar with the signs of labour. These classes are either run by the hospital trust or the charity National Child Birth Trust.

Hospital visits are also arranged, as are sessions on how to look after the baby in the first few days of mother hood and how to breast feed the baby.

Depending on the birth, some women can leave hospital six hours after giving birth. Wards tend to be crowded and if new mothers have to stay overnight, they will have to share a room with up to twelve other women and their newborns. Mothers can ask for a paid private room, but rooms are not always available. If the baby is born via C-section, both baby and mother are required to stay in hospital for up to four days.

  • For further information about labour and birth: Click here