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Home Birth (under Princess Alexndra) vs Homerton Birth Centre

(15 Posts)
LowennaGirl Wed 28-Nov-12 22:53:25


I'm 24 weeks pregnant with our first baby and this is my first posting and I would love your help!

We are shortly moving from North London (currently under UCH) to Loughton, Essex and plan to transfer care. I'm really torn between having a home birth, which would need to be registered under the Princess Alexandra in Harlow, and registering with Homerton which has a birth centre - but the back up of a labour ward and SCBU. (Homerton does not cover my area for homebirths).

I would love any insights on how to make this decision.

I really like the idea of a homebirth but am worried about the fact the data shows that for first babies this increases the risk for the baby:

Is it selfish to want a homebirth when I see this data? Am I crazy to consider it as a first-time mum with no idea of what labour is actually going to feel like?
I'm less worried about the fact I may have to transfer to hospital, or noise, mess etc. It's the safety side of things I'm feeling unsure but every time I'm about to book the Homerton I think again about how much I'd love to at least try for a home birth.

Going around in circles as you can see! Very grateful for any comments.


cochonette Wed 28-Nov-12 23:09:04

Hi there,
thought I would comment here as I gave birth with my first at the Homerton birth centre (in 2011) - and really had an amazing experience. I had a water birth - the midwives were wonderful, v considerate and respectful of my birth plan choices etc and the birth centre facilities are really fantastic.

You should definitely go on one of the tours of the birth centre to get a feel yourself of what it's like there. I felt v reassured and much more 'confident' about giving birth there once i'd been to visit. I would definitely consider a home birth for my next one, as my first birth went so well, but I think for your first birth, as you can never predict exactly how it will go, that the homerton birth centre would be great to at least have as a good back up in case the home birth plan doesn't work out. Hope that helps!

LowennaGirl Wed 28-Nov-12 23:36:48

Ooh thanks so much cochonette. That's really helpful and good to ear about your experience. Birth centre may be a really good compromise

crunchingautumnleaves Thu 29-Nov-12 03:16:30

Hi, can't answer specifically regarding the 2 places you mention, but Hackney Doula has a great article looking at the realities of the birthplace study & pondering why there is (a v small) increased risk for babies of first time mothers at homebirths. I hope this helps! May be worth getting in touch with her and other doulas or independent midwives local to where you'll be moving to see if they have any specific info regarding how the hospital you'd be under organises staffing for homebirths & if they've any thoughts/experiences of the birth centre.

mayhew Thu 29-Nov-12 09:02:20

I love Hackney Doula. That is all.

squiggleywiggler Thu 29-Nov-12 09:45:21

blush - thanks Mayhew!

There's also a Homerton Birth Centre birth story on my birth stories page - you'll find it via the link Lowennagirl kindly posted.

I'm a fan of the Homerton and the birth centre can be great. However, as the Birthplace study shows you are statistically quite a bit more likely to have intervention in a birth centre attached to a hospital (homebirth 10% vs. attached birth centre 24%) - which is something to consider when making the choice.

I wonder whether going to a homebirth support group, doing a tour of the Homerton & maybe a chat with your new local Supervisor of Midwives about homebirth transfer times etc might help you make your decision?

And obviously you aren't crazy to think about either option - both sensible, both have risks/benefits and you just need to work out what feels best for you guys.

LowennaGirl Thu 29-Nov-12 10:24:40

Loved that article, Hackney Doula is indeed great - thanks!

getoutofit Thu 29-Nov-12 17:58:06

Just to add I ended up on homerton labour ward and that was also fantastic and it was very relaxed and felt very looked after. Going for home birth if I make it to full term this time.

GraceGrape Thu 29-Nov-12 21:54:40

Did you know that the Princess Alexandra has a midwife-led birthing unit on site that has a good reputation if you decide to go for the birth unit option?

Heartstart Thu 29-Nov-12 22:02:51

Princess Alexandra is fantastic and the community midwives for Loughton are all part of the same service. They have particular high level of home births for first timers. Loads of my friends had dcs there and so did DSis. Good luck

brettgirl2 Sat 01-Dec-12 10:15:33

Remember that you can change your mind later and booking for hb is late anyway. If you say you want a hb at 36 weeks then that is your right so they would have to transfer you to the other hospital. I actually know a couple of people who have changed hospitals very late anyway without having home birth justification.

LowennaGirl Sun 02-Dec-12 00:11:58

Thanks everyone! We visited Homerton today and it was a good experience but reading the home birth stories on Hackney Doula has made me want to keep that option open so going to meet with the community midwives as soon as we've moved (two weeks-yay!) and explore the HB option. Comments much appreciated!

LowennaGirl Sun 02-Dec-12 00:12:38

Thanks everyone! We visited Homerton today and it was a good experience but reading the home birth stories on Hackney Doula has made me want to keep that option open so going to meet with the community midwives as soon as we've moved (two weeks-yay!) and explore the HB option. Your comments were much appreciated smile

DoulaKate Wed 05-Dec-12 19:33:16

The community midwives associated with the Alexandra Hospital are great from my experience. I've attended home births in Old Harlow where they have covered. Go with your instinct. Good luck.

OliviaPeaceOnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 05-Dec-12 19:37:30

Found everyone at PAH lovely, though ended up having a home birth (am just over the border in Herts)
Best of luck OP

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