You’ll usually be asked to ‘book’ where you want to give birth near the start of your pregnancy, but you can change your mind later. It’s important that your midwife knows what you want.
Choosing where to give birth
Depending where you live, you may have a choice of where you can give birth. It also makes sense to ask around and find out what other people’s experiences have been like. Some of the main options that may be available in your area are listed below.
If you are thinking about a home birth you should discuss your care options with your midwife. For a home birth you will be offered support from your midwife and the Scottish Ambulance Service as well as support from a linked maternity unit. In some remote or rural areas in Scotland, it may not be feasible to have a home birth if you are too far from a hospital, in case you want an epidural or there are complications. In these circumstances, home birth is possible, but may not be recommended. There is no evidence that a planned home birth is riskier than a hospital birth for women who are not expected to have problems with pregnancy or birth.
Community maternity unit
This may be available in your area, particularly in more rural parts of Scotland. In many cases, this unit will be led by midwives and it is suitable for women expected to have a normal pregnancy and birth. It will have links with a hospital maternity unit in case you need to be transferred.
Midwife-led unit in hospital
Some hospitals have midwife-led units where midwives are responsible for running the unit. Usually this is for women who are expecting a normal birth.
Consultant-led unit in hospital
This will normally be where you give birth if you expect to need care from a doctor. There may be more than one consultant-led unit in your area. Some women who don’t expect to have problems prefer to give birth in these units, as they feel reassured by having specialist medical care close at hand. Midwives carry out most of the care in these units.