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Coronavirus Read our latest advice

Where to give birth

Find the right place for you to give birth, based on your preferences and personal circumstances. Our tool suggests the best maternity options for you to discuss with your midwife.

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Find your local maternity units – explore NHS maternity services by searching for your postcode.

How does the tool work

The interactive Where to give birth tool is designed to encourage women to think about where would be most suitable for them to give birth – be that at home, in a birth centre or in a hospital labour ward.

The recommendations of the tool are based on guidelines on place of birth from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the results of the Birthplace Study from the British Medical Journal (2011) as well as considerations for women’s personal preferences.

Results are only an indication of a birth setting that is suitable based on the details you submit to the tool. It does not constitute medical advice nor guarantee availability of your option. It’s your responsibility to discuss your choice with healthcare professionals to find the right place for you to give birth.

Coronavirus and birthing options 

Coronavirus may impact where and how you give birth.

Although you may have been hoping for a delivery at home or in a midwife-led centre, pregnant women with suspected or confirmed coronavirus are being advised to give birth in a hospital obstetric unit for the safety of both mum and baby.

This is so that the baby can be monitored using continuous electronic foetal monitoring and your oxygen levels can be monitored, too.

This kind of monitoring can only take place in an obstetric unit where both doctors and midwives are present.

If you have suspected or confirmed coronavirus infection, it is also recommended that you don’t have a birthing pool delivery in hospital as the virus can sometimes be found in faces.

Not only that but it may also be difficult for healthcare staff to use adequate protection equipment during a water birth.

If you have chosen a home birth or one in a midwife-led unit that isn’t co-located with an obstetric unit, it’s important to understand that these services rely in the availability of ambulance services for rapid transfer to hospital if needed and the right number of staff to keep you safe.

If these aren’t in place, it’s possible your local health trust or board might not be able to provide these services.

A Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) spokesperson said: 'Women’s birth plans should be followed as closely as possible. Please check with your local maternity as to the birthing options available.'

If you go into labour, call your maternity team for advice.

If you have suspected or confirmed coronavirus, let them know. If you have mild symptoms you'll be encouraged to remain self-isolating at home.

When the time has come to go to hospital, you are advised to get there by private transport where possible.

When you arrive you should notify them of your attendance when on the hospital premises but before entering the hospital.

You will then be met at the maternity unit entrance and provided with a surgical face mask, which you’ll need to wear until you’re isolated in a suitable room.

You will also be tested for coronavirus.  This currently involves swabs being taken from your mouth and nose and you may also be asked to cough up sputum (a mixture of saliva and mucus).

Page last updated 28/03/20. Please check out Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for any more recent updates.

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