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You may still be thinking about the sort of birth you would like for your baby. If your pregnancy is progressing normally there are several options you could consider.
You may have decided to have your baby in hospital, if you have health problems, or if you live in an area where medical services couldn’t reach you quickly in the event of an emergency. However, even if you are a first-timer, you may want to have your baby at home. If you are healthy and your pregnancy is low risk, this may be an option for you.
If you decide to give birth to your baby at home, discuss this with your LMC. If the one you have been seeing does not offer home births, ask her to refer you to one who does, or phone 0800 MUM 2 BE to find out. Talk to your LMC, ask her advice about any potential problems and also consider how easy it would be to get to the hospital from home if there was an emergency.
If you want to have your baby in a maternity unit visit the unit, that way you will know exactly what you can expect in the way of care and pain relief, and how you will be looked after once your baby is born. A tour of the unit may be part of the series of antenatal classes or your unit may have regular open days.
Some women find that getting into a pool of warm water is a good way to relax in labour. Women who use pools tend to need less pain relief and may have shorter labours. Babies born to women who use a birth pool have similar Apgar scores (the quick assessment that the LMC makes of babies just after they are born) (see Week 32) and there is no increased risk of infection.
Pools are available in some maternity units, and you can arrange to hire a pool to use at home. If your unit has a birth pool, there will be guidelines about who can use it. Usually, only women who have reached full term, and with a single baby who is headfirst in the pelvis, are allowed to use the pool. Talk to your LMC about what guidelines apply at your birthing unit.
If you plan to hire a birth pool to use at home, make sure you have an area where it can safely be put up. Pool hire companies can usually advise about practical issues. Talk to your LMC about how the pool can be used. In some areas women labour and birth in the pool. In others, they labour in the pool but are asked to get out for the delivery.
To look round some shops, you’d think that babies couldn’t manage without endless frilly accessories. But babies need their basic needs met – to eat, be clean and warm and to be loved. And that needn’t cost a fortune more.