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Deciding where to have your baby

The choice you have about where to have your baby and how you are cared for will depend to some extent on where you live. But what should be the same everywhere is that the care and the place should feel right for you.

 

It’s important for you to make informed choices about the sort of care you would like and where you would like to give birth. Try to get information from as many sources as possible.

 

You can go and look round the local hospital where there will probably be information leaflets about the services on offer. Midwives and your GP’s surgery should also be able to tell you about the different options for care available in your area.

 

Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you don’t understand something or if you think that you need to know more. Midwives and doctors are there to help and support you.

They want to make you feel as comfortable as possible with all aspects of the care you receive, both while you are pregnant and when you have your baby.

 

When you find out (or think) that you are pregnant, you can go either to your GP or direct to a midwife to discuss and arrange your care. Once you have found out what’s available locally, talk things over with your GP or midwife. They will be able to offer you advice based on your medical history and any previous pregnancies you may have had but, remember, the choice is yours.

 

Don’t forget, if you make your choice and then think that some other sort of care would be better for you and your baby, you can change your mind.

Your basic options will be to have your baby:

  • in a hospital (a specialist unit with consultant obstetricians);
  • at home;
  • in a GP/midwife unit (either as part of a large general hospital, in a smaller community hospital, or completely separate). 

See your midwife or doctor as soon as possible if: 

  • you are currently being treated for a chronic disease, such as diabetes or epilepsy;
  • you are over 35, so that you can be offered additional tests for abnormalities in the baby;
  • you are a teenager – there may be services available to you specifically for your age group;
  • you have previously had a baby with spina  bifida, Down’s syndrome, or you have a family history of a genetic disorder such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell disease – additional tests will be offered to you;
  • you have previously had an ectopic pregnancy – you might be able to have an ultrasound scan.

 

Information provided by Health Promotion England.