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
- Home birth research ‘paves the way for change’ (itv.com)
- Home births ‘safest cheapest option’ for women who already have children (menmedia.co.uk)
- Reaction to new home birth study (itv.com)
- No place like home to give birth, says study (scotsman.com)
- Study backs home births for mothers (express.co.uk)
- Low risk home births ‘could save millions of pounds’ (itv.com)
- Home births ‘are cost effective’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Home births cheaper than hospital, study suggests – The Guardian (guardian.co.uk)