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50% rise in number of home births in Basildon and Thurrock
The huge rise in the number of women preferring home over hospital has been put down to mums being being given more power over where and how they give birth.
Figures show over the period of 2010/11, a total of 67 women under the care of Basildon Hospital delivered their babies at home.
This shot up to 98 births over the period of 2011/12. That equates to 2.3per cent of all births for the year and is above the two per cent national average rate of home births. The year-on-year increase is thought to be one of the biggest in the country.
Basildon Hospital’s community midwife Kim Mason said: “Many people don’t realise any woman defined as ‘low risk’ is eligible for a home birth and there are many advantages to making this choice.
“We have a culture that women must go to hospital for birth.
“We are not here to push home births on women, but give them the information to help them decide what they would prefer.”
Mums often opt to give birth at home instead of in a maternity unit because of the comfort factor.
Because they are less restricted, expectant mums can stand up to have their babies, which is not normal practice on a maternity ward.
Mums are always supported with a midwife throughout the birthing process, who can administer pain relief and alert the hospital if there are any problems.
Nichola Evans, 33, from Grays, who had a healthy baby daughter Eliza in a birthing pool at home in May, said: “I really had no idea you were allowed to have your first baby at home and just about everyone I talked to didn’t know either.”
“My husband Matthew and I did a lot of research online and realised a home birth would be a safe option for us. We wanted to be together afterwards, and for the rest of the family to come round. I also liked the idea of being able to eat what I wanted.
“Having Eliza at home is the best decision we ever made. I would have a home birth again and I would definitely recommend it to other women.”