A Mummys View

Telling it like it is

More Informed Birthing Choices for Women or Cost Cutting Measures?

on April 22, 2012

It’s hit the headlines this last week that home births may be a safer and cheaper option than hospital and this in turn could also save the NHS a significant amount of money.

The study carried out by University of Oxford Researchers looked at 64,000 births in Englandbetween 2008 – 2010 and the relative costs of healthy births in different settings.

It found a planned birth in an obstetric unit was the most expensive option for mothers who already have children and a planned home birth was the cheapest. In addition, for people who haven’t had children before, a planned birth in a midwife-led unit is cheaper than one in an obstetric unit.

However according to the Royal College of Midwives* 96% of births still happen in hospital.

The Department of Health* has stated:

“As we modernise the NHS we have made it a priority to offer women choices in where they give birth.”

I personally am all for home-births and birth’s in midwife led units. However I have lost count of the number of times I have heard people say

“I planned a home birth and ended up being rushed into hospital”


“I was all set to give birth at the midwife led unit but then had to be rushed to the nearby hospital due to complications”.

Every mother dreams of an uncomplicated birth but the reality is that many unfortunately don’t have the choice in the first place (breech babies, etc) or last minute complications take the decision out of their hands.

If recommendations are to be made I am all in favour however the cost mustn’t be at the expense of the mother or baby. Mother’s must be able to make an informed decision and alternatives need to remain in place for any last minute changes or emergency’s. The Government and NHS need to assure this is the case and not just make moves to purely save money.

As you will have read in my birth story “Oh My God My Baby’s Coming Early” I didn’t have the choice, last minute complications and a breech position meant an inevitable quick c-section for me. I don’t know anyone who has had the home water birth or birth in a midwife led unit that they wanted. Am I wrong in this assumption? How did your birth go? Did it go according to plan? Would you have preferred an alternative birth? Did you have a home birth or midwife led birth? I’d love to hear your views and / or stories. Why not comment or link up with me below?

Whilst this post is talking about the service available to mums-to-be here in the UK I do want to also highlight a Save the Children campaign that I just wrote about recently to help expectant mums in developing countries too. #Blogitforbabies is a fab campaign being headed up by the lovely Mammasaurus.

We mustn’t forget that we are very lucky when compared to mum’s in Bangladesh. They don’t have the luxury of an NHS healthcare and 1 in 19 children don’t live to see their fifth birthday because of limited access to basic healthcare services. This means that preventable diseases are claiming the lives of innocent young children and babies.

Save the Children is appealing for £1 million to build life-saving clinics in some of the poorest and remotest areas of Bangladesh. If you haven’t already please take a look at ways you too can get involved in Save the Children’s campaign.

In the meantime I’d love to hear your views on the study here in the UK, the recommendations and what your experiences were!

*comments taken from article in The Guardian

10 responses to “More Informed Birthing Choices for Women or Cost Cutting Measures?

  1. mummydaddyme says:

    I had an elective c-section due to my little one being breech. and I am so glad I did. It was an amazing birthing experience and I don’t regret it in the slightest. The option was out of my hands anyway. It is just my personal opinion but I really wouldn’t want a home birth- I like the idea of being safe in a hospital with access to care if I need it. x

    • amummysview says:

      That’s how I felt. In my birthing story Oh My God My Baby’s Coming Early I said what a great experience it was. I think it is all very well to say homebirths all the way but more often than not it’s just not feasible and if urgent care is needed hospital is the best place to be. x

  2. The Fabulous Mom's Guide. says:

    I love the idea of home births. To be in the comfort of your own home surrounded by family seems the most natural and perfect environment to bring new life into the world. However the reality is that pregnancy and birth can be complicated and I just couldn’t risk anything happening to my children just because I wanted an ideal birth environment. I know my feeling on this are shaped by fear because I have lost a child but the most important thing is that you get to go home with a health baby. That to me is far more important than the actual birth experience.

    • amummysview says:

      I can totally understand your point of view and think I would feel the same. I am so sorry to hear of your loss lovely lady. I think you are totally right in what you are saying xxx

  3. The Fabulous Mom's Guide. says:

    Thanks Hun, Great topic for a post. Women should be better informed but either way it is a difficult decision to make.

  4. Emma L says:

    i had three babies two of which were in midwife led units and were amazing experiences. totally uncomplicated relaxed and laid back. in my humble opinion i would always opt for your first birth to be in a consultant led unit (as mine was) as you never really know what your body will do. after that if your first birth was incident free and there are no medical reasons why not then i would strongly urge midwife led HOWEVER i am totally not a fan of home births!!! the thought of all that fuss and mess in my living room or bathroom!! no thank you very much! it should be pointed out though that you can only have epidurals in consultant led units administered by anaesthetists. i managed on just gas and air with number two and three but its not for everyone.

    but it is possible to do it without too much fuss or things going wrong 🙂

    • amummysview says:

      Well said! You are right cautionary approach always good at first, glad to hear you had good experiences in a midewife led unit, they always sound lovely. Like you say it’s not for everyone and individual choices and reasons are paramount. Mine was taken out of my hands slightly. I would have liked to have gone in the birthing pool but couldn’t. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment x

  5. When I was on my obstetrics rotation last year, I did quite a few calls in a midwife-led unit. Most of the cases there went well with no complications. I don’t have any experience with home-births though. Currently I’m on a neonatology rotation, and there I see a lot of moms who didn’t get the experience they wanted as they had to have emergency C-sections. In the end I suppose all moms-to-be have the experience they want, and then there’s the experience that will get the baby and mom through in one piece… and unfortunately those aren’t always the same…

    I also wrote a #blogitforbabies post here 🙂

    • amummysview says:

      Hi thanks fr taking the time to stop by. I think you are totally right it’s what is best for mum and baby at the end of the day and whilst some mums may dream of a beautiful water birth at home (as many I know have) or others intend to be in the midwife led unit with music playing and hubby staying the night, unfortunately it doesn’t always happen like this (granted many times it does, but not always) and I think it has to be what’s right for the baby.

      Well done for #bloggingitforbabies will go check it out x

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