There are many benefits to birthing at home, but it is still often seen as a controversial choice. 

Despite many believing it’s the more risky choice, birthing at home completely supports the physiology of birth. Those that choose to birth at home have a much higher chance of achieving a natural, physiological birth with much less chance of medical intervention. According to a systematic review and meta-analyses by The Lancet (2018) the outcomes for babies being birthed at home (by those who intended to birth at home) showed no difference to those birthed in a hospital setting and for the mother, the outcomes were improved in a home birth setting. 

It is apparent that intervention in birth leads to more intervention, and you could say that the transfer from your home into the hospital is the first intervention for most birthing people. To leave your home, a place where you are familiar, safe and unobserved, to enter into a bright, sterile hospital surrounded by strangers is disturbing the process, no matter how smooth the transition goes. 


You have the undivided attention of your community/independent midwife as unlike in a birth centre or labour ward, you are the only birthing person around. 

Partners can become more involved; being at home gives you the opportunity to be more intimate (which supports the physiology of birth) as your home enables you to have more privacy. 

Should you choose to, you are free to have siblings assist your birth.

You have the freedom to move about your home, exploring different rooms, finding comfort on the bed, in the bath, in a pool, etc. Being in your own home means you have the freedom to alter the birthing space, creating the perfect environment to support a physiological birth. 

You are at much less risk of infection as your body has already built up a tolerance to the bacteria in your home, creating antibodies to protect you and your baby.

You’re free to eat and drink whatever and whenever you choose during and immediately after labour. 

You have choice who you welcome into your birthing space. In the hospital, people (health professionals, hospital staff) are free to come in and out without warning, interrupting the natural flow of labour. 

It is much less stressful than the logistics of travelling to hospital, worrying about traffic, sorting parking, finding the labour ward, waiting around in Triage, being told you “aren’t far enough along” only to be sent home to do it all over again in a couple of hours. Of course this isn’t the case for everyone that goes to hospital to birth their baby, but it is very common. 



There are a few simple things you can do to support and protect your hormones during labour, to ensure your labour progresses as it should. 

Oxytocin (the love hormone) is what makes your uterus contract. When oxytocin is released in abundance, you will experience longer, stronger and more effective surges. It is important to protect the environment in which you are birthing because oxytocin is a shy hormone. If at any point you do not feel safe, protected, undisturbed or unobserved, your oxytocin production can be effected and in-turn, your body will produce heightened levels of adrenaline, causing labour to stall. This is our bodies way of protecting us from harm whilst birthing our babies. 

Things to consider when preparing your birthing space:

  • Lighting – Low lighting encourages privacy, encouraging you to feel safe and unobserved.
  • Temperature – Warmth supports the production of oxytocin.
  • Smell – Scented candles/essential oils in a diffuser can enhance a feeling of calm.
  • Music – What sounds help you to relax?
  • Water – Being immersed in water can calm us. Perhaps the use of a pool or bath.
  • Who are you welcoming into your space? Do they bring the right energy? 

Below I have created a list of comfort measures to support you during your home birth. These are not all essential but will help you to cope with the process of labour:

  • Hot water bottle for early labour
  • TENS machine
  • Positive Affirmations to stick around your birthing space
  • Create a playlist that will help you feel calm and focused
  • Candles or fairy lights
  • Food & drinks prepared ready when you need
  • Birth ball to keep active and help labour progress
  • Essential oils to use in a diffuser, in the bath or in a massage oil
  • Other complementary therapies; herbal/homeopathic remedies
  • Flannel or ice pack
  • Birth pool and accessories
  • Lip balm

Once again, these aren’t essentials just practical tools to assist your labour.

  • Plastic sheeting to protect floors, sofa and beds
  • Soft coverings such as old sheets or towels
  • Extra old towels 
  • Bin bags for rubbish and washing
  • Flannels and hair ties
  • Container (bowl or bucket) in case you are sick
  • A straw for your drink 
  • Food/drinks for partner/midwives/doula
  • Camera 
  • Maternity notes and birth plan to hand to midwife upon arrival
  • Packed Birth Bag – in case you need to transfer


Consider things that you may need as soon as baby arrives. 

  • Blanket for you and baby
  • Post-birth food and drink to restore energy levels
  • A change of clothes ready to put on after a bath/shower
  • Clothing for baby 
  • Nappies
  • Cotton wool
  • Maternity pads
  • Large comfortable underwear

In the UK home birth is an option for all, including those with more complex pregnancies. It is important that you choose to birth where you feel safe and you can make that choice by researching and informing yourself, basing your decision on facts.

Are you planning a home birth? If there is anything else you’d like to know, if so please feel free to leave me a comment below.



Every woman who has a baby, however that baby is ultimately born, treads the path of the heroine, and yet it’s not always perceived that way.

Milli Hill, Give Birth Like a Feminist

Not only should every pregnant person (& their partner) read this book, but anyone who works in maternity services should. Milli Hill’s writing style kept me engaged throughout. She has perfectly articulated how mainstream birth culture and maternity systems disempower women and why. 

Too often, assumptions are made that women’s bodies need help to birth their babies, that they are badly designed and need medical intervention to be able to do so. By medicalising birth we have been conditioned to believe that we do not know our own bodies and think that qualified professionals know our bodies better than we do, which takes decision making away from us as mothers. We no longer realise that we have choice. Milli shares her own experiences throughout, but also provides practical tools for women to use when making decisions during labour, including the B.R.A.I.N decision-making tool, which as doulas we often refer to with our clients. For anyone unfamiliar with the B.R.A.I.N tool, I have a post about this over on my Instagram

This book delves into how and why we have perhaps become too reliant on interventions and have lost the ability to trust our own bodies. Hill highlights how birth is depicted in the media, TV & film – showing women distressed and screaming, lying on their backs in a brightly lit hospital room, hooked up to machines with people coming in and out of their birthing space – no wonder its daunting to so many of us! She also discusses how the censoring of images of birth and breastfeeding on social media also contributes to misrepresentation. 

GBLF reaffirms how important it is to know your choices, because without being educated you don’t have any. It doesn’t tell you that there is one right way to birth your baby, but that all preferences are valid, to respect all choices and be informed. Every decision during your birth is yours, but Milli shares some of the coercive language that is all too often used in the birth room and explores why you might come up against it. By being informed you can confidently give your consent (or not) and, no matter what path your birth takes, remain in control. Milli empowers women by recognising birth for the incredibly, primal act that it is and challenges the narrative of women being child-like in labour; clean shaven and often referred to as ‘good girls’.

In a time when there are such strict restrictions within maternity care, it is even more important to remember your rights as a birthing person. Your human rights don’t disappear because you are pregnant. I would highly recommend this book, it empowers the reader to educate themselves on their journey to meeting their baby. By being more aware of the history and how certain language and attitudes still exist today is eye opening, and by opening our eyes and supporting women and families so that they understand their birth rights, enables them to take back control in the birth room.