Womb for manoeuvre: Should pregnant mums choose living room over delivery room?

One Born Every Minute may be a hit with telly lovers but opting to give birth in hospital could become a thing of the past if mums-to-be take note of a new report urging women to have their babies delivered at home.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) revealed an estimated 45% of births are deemed at low risk of complications and could be better off taking place away from hospital delivery rooms.

However, as birth plans costs the NHS £1,066 – compared to £1,631 for an obstetric unit birth – and £2,369 for a planned C-section, some have questioned the convenient money saving benefits that come with this approach.

MM took to the streets to find out what the woman in Manchester think about the new report and ask:

Would you consider giving birth at home instead of at hospital?

YES 42%
NO 58%


Rachel Smith, 29, an illustrator from Salford said: “Maybe, I don’t think about my womb that much but I would certainly consider the pros and cons of each one.  

“What I saw in the headlines seemed a bit misleading. It was like they were making it out that [home births] were safer. I don’t know about that.” 

25-year-old Tanita Cross, a business magazine editor from Glossop agreed with Linda. She said: “Yes, I think it’s a good idea if it means taking pressure off the NHS and midwives but only if they have the staff.  

“Birth is scary; I think you would be nervous either way. There are so many scare stories about hospital superbugs and stuff. If you have a medical professional there it should be fine.” 

SCARY: 25-year-old Tanita Cross says she has heard too many horror stories about hospital viruses

However, two teenagers said they preferred the idea of giving birth in hospital.

Peggy Martin, 19, a nursing student from Fallowfield said: “It would be quite nice to be at home but I also imagine it would be very messy. As a medic I know a hospital is a good place for a baby to be born, in terms of stuff it has.” 

Lucy Boxhill, 19, from Eccles, said: “It’s a nice idea because it’s natural – kind of how it would happen anyway. 

“But then there’s the safety aspect. I wouldn’t for my first one.”

“I think it would be quite nice to have one of those epidural thingies.” 

However, Karen Barnes, 44, a probation worker from Bramhall said: “My fiance‘s brother’s wife just had a baby and she said: ‘if I had had to do this at home it would have been a nightmare.’ Those are the exact words she used.” 

Linda Janney, 60, a carer from Doncaster, said she would be open to the idea of giving birth at home.

She said: “Yes, some people like it at home don’t they? I would feel more comfortable at home.” 

DIFFERING OPINIONS: Karen and Linda Janney both have opposing views on the matter

However, Karen Janney, 42, from Doncaster, expressed her frustration at the proposal and said she was concerned the report would put people off giving birth at hospital, which is where she would feel safest.

Karen said: “I would rather be near medical help in case something goes wrong. I have a 22 year old daughter. 

“I would have been angry if someone had suggested I should do it at home. My daughter had severe complications when she was born and I needed to be there.” 

Helen Storey, 41, a PhD student from Newcastle studying in Manchester said: “It’s up to the woman – like everything should be.” 

PERSONAL PREFERENCE: Helen says it should be down to woman to decide what is best

“But I have a friend who had four home births and wouldn’t have had it any other way. For me the hospital gave me peace of mind. 

“In my area of Tyneside maternity unit closures have meant women have a thirty-mile trip to get to hospital. 

“I think that’s going to take the decision out of the hands of most people there.” 

Image courtesy of Eyeliam, with thanks.

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