NEW guidelines encouraging home births from the NHS watchdog have been welcomed by midwives.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has revised its advice to women giving birth, in a draft document that has been supported by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
It says that births at midwife practices or at home are safe for low-risk women who have had healthy pregnancies. Previous guidelines had cautioned against home births.
Oxfordshire Midwifery Practice spokeswoman Camilla Preece said: “The new NICE guidelines are an important step in improving mothers’ access to choice in maternity care in the UK.
“National guidelines supporting homebirth can only improve the chances of this happening.”
There were about 188 home births in Oxfordshire in 2012 – 2.3 per cent of the total 8,217 live births.
Mother-of-two Jo Bowlt gave birth to her sons Benjamin, six, and Sam, three, at home in Oxford. She said: “It was really relaxed. “This sort of recognition by NICE is overdue. There has been a move towards hospital births in recent decades, but home births are actually very natural experiences.
“Giving birth is different for every woman. For some going into hospital can raise stress levels and slow down the progress of labour.”
A group meets in Oxford to discuss home births once a month. Email homebirth.oxford@ nct.org.uk for more information.
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