Home Birth Reference Site

Home Birth Books and Films

Books on Home Birth

Contact details for all suppliers are below

Home Births

The report of the 1994 confidential enquiry by the National Birthday Trust Fund
Edited by Geoffrey Chamberlain, Ann Wraight and Patricia Crowley
Parthenon Publishing, 1997. Hardback, 293 pages
ISBN 1-85070-934-3

Probably the most comprehensive study of home birth ever undertaken in the UK. Contains not only the study data, but chapters on the history of home birth, an economic evaluation of home births, and more.
Available from ACE Graphics (order from the UK or Australia) (www.acegraphics.com.au)

Home Birth

By Nicky Wesson
Latest edition: Paperback - 224 pages (1996) , Vermilion;
ISBN: 0091812518
Comprehensive guide to planning home birth. Considers why you might want a home birth, safety, high-risk pregnancies, complications of labour and birth, and lots of birth stories including those of transfers to hospital. This book does not paint home birth in a rosy glow - it encourages readers to think about all possible scenarios.

Delivered at Home

By Julia Allison, Dame Margaret Brain
Published by Nelson Thornes; Paperback - 160 pages (September 1989)
ISBN: 0748735003
Synopsis from amazon.com:
This is a study of the work and life of district midwives from 1948 to 1972 in Nottingham, which was one of the last UK cities to build a central maternity unit. The author statistically examines the outcome of home births in the area, taking into account the Parliamentary Reports of 1992 and 1993 and demonstrating the safety and value to society of district midwives.

Safer Childbirth? a critical history of maternity care

By Marjorie Tew,
Free Association Books /Chapman and Hall, 1998.
ISBN 1-85343-426-4
Tew is a statistician who once set a class of students the (apparently) simple project of analysing statistics on perinatal mortality in England and Wales, and showing that hospital birth was safer than home birth. When the results showed precisely the opposite, Ms Tew dedicated her career to research in this area. Some of the statistics are very old now and so may not carry as much weight as more recent studies.
Available from NCT Maternity Sales

Where to be born? The debate and the evidence

By R Campbell and A McFarlane
Published by National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, Oxford (1995)
Paperback - 176 pages 2nd revised edition (1995)
ISBN: 095124051X
 A scholarly, but approachable, book reviewing the evidence then available on the safety of home birth. The authors concluded that obstetric interventions could be beneficial on occasion, but that there was no evidence to suggest the safest policy was for all women to be delivered in hospital.
Available from NCT Maternity Sales

Choosing a Home Birth

By Pat Thomas
Published by AIMS 1998, ISBN 1-874412-08
32-page booklet on choosing and booking a home birth in the UK. Considers advantages and disadvantages, safety data, questions to ask your midwife, and what to do if you have trouble booking a home birth.
Extracts available online via the AIMS website
£4.50 inc P&P from AIMS

Homebirth and other alternatives to hospital

By Sheila Kitzinger
Dorling Kindersley, ISBN 0-86318-616-5 (1991)
Old favourite with lots of lovely photos. Out of print but see new book below.

Birth Your Way: choosing birth at home or in a birth centre

By Sheila Kitzinger
(Dorling Kindersley, 2002)
Format 190x235mm; approx 208 pp; approx 55 b&w photographs.
Contains material on home birth safety, waterbirth, aromatherapy and pain relief. More details on www.sheilakitzinger.com
Available from NCT Maternity Sales

Gentle Birth Choices

By Barbara Harper, Suzanne Arms
A Guide to Making Informed Decisions About Birthing Centers, Birth Attendants, Water Birth, Home Birth, Hospital Birth

Home Birth

Alice Gilgoff
Bergin & Garvey; ISBN: 0897891783, Paperback - 192 pages (31 December, 1988)
Amazon.com synopsis:
Assesses the pros and cons of having a baby at home, outlines methods of natural childbirth, and gives advice on arranging for a home-birth attendant, preparing one's house and family, and planning a contingency trip to the hospital.

Successful Home Birth and Midwifery

Eva Abraham-Van der Mark (Editor)
Bergin & Garvey; ISBN: 089789295X, Hardcover - 232 pages (1994)
Amazon.com synopsis:
It astounds the western world that such a highly industrialized nation as the Netherlands has a marked preference for home birth assisted by midwives. The author examines Dutch attitudes and practices surrounding birth from a sociohistorical point of view, explaining the importance of ideological consensus, the private nature of the Dutch family, the high regard for comfort and well being, and the professional development of midwives as trained and licensed practitioners. This volume should be of interest to those convinced of the value of low-intervention home birth, as well as practitioners who must rely on technological procedures to manage the birth process.
£47.95 from www.amazon.co.uk

Birth Tides - Turning towards Home Birth

By Marie O'Connor
Published by Pandora (an imprint of Harper Collins), 1995, ISBN 0-04-440916-8
Stories of 100 home births in Ireland, with discussions and narrative

Not specifically on home birth, but useful:

Contact details for all suppliers are below

Every Woman's Birth Rights

By Pat Thomas
Published by Thorsons (an imprint of Harper Collins) 1996, ISBN 0-7225-3281-4
Discusses childbirth choices, especially for those in the UK. Explains your options and legal rights for ante-natal care, birth, and afterwards. Lists pros and cons of options, interventions etc. Unusually for books on this subject, the author assumes that her readers are intelligent individuals capable of making up their own minds. The tone is non-patronising, and all claims are backed up by sources and references to research where possible.

New Active Birth

by Janet Balaskas
Explains the theory and benefits of an active birth, with illustrated sections on waterbirth, yoga based exercises for before and after the birth, posture, breathing and massage.

Birth Reborn: What Childbirth Should Be

By Dr Michel Odent
Souvenir Press, 1984, ISBN 0 285 63194 2
Thoughts of this pioneer of active and water births, for example on the importance of the birth setting. Highly recommended.

Birthrights - a parent's guide to modern childbirth

Sally Inch (1989)

Excellent critical reviews of obstetric procedures, but bear in mind this was published 11 years ago!
Available from NCT Maternity Sales

A guide to effective care in pregnancy and childbirth (3rd Edition)

Enkin, Keirse, Neilson, Crowther, Duley, Hodnett and Hofmeyr (August 2000)
Summary of all reliable research relating to pregnancy and childbirth since 1950. The midwives' handbook for evidence-based practice.
New edition out now. Available from NCT Maternity Sales

Water Birth Unplugged

Edited by Beverly Beech
This book contains the proceedings of the First International Water Birth Conference held in London in 1995. It provides an invaluable resource of information on research, studies and experience of the world's leading experts on Water Birth.
Available from NCT Maternity Sales, or from AIMS for £14.50 including P&P

Choosing a Waterbirth

By Pat Thomas
How to arrange a waterbirth and overcome obstacles. Lists pool rental companies.
Published by AIMS - £4.00 + 50p P&P from AIMS - extracts on the AIMS website at www.aims.org.uk

The Water Birth Handbook

By Dr. Roger Lichy and Eileen Herzberg
A comprehensive guide which offers useful advice on how to make the most of water throughout labour and delivery. A practical and readable book with lots of vivid personal stories and answers to the often-asked questions about this innovative birthing option.
£8.95 from the Active Birth Centre

Water Birth

By Janet Balaskas and Yehudi Gordon
Thorsons, 1992, ISBN 0 7225 2788 8
Guide to using water in pregnancy and birth, at home or in hospital.

Labour Pain

By Nicky Wesson
Vermillion, 1999, ISBN 0-09-181722-6
Alluringly sub-titled 'Discover the secrets of an easier labour', this book looks at the influence of environment on women's experience of labour pain, and has a section on home birth. Considers ways to manage pain without drugs, including complementary therapies; useful for anyone worried about the lack of epidurals at home births!

Collections of Birth Stories, including home birth

Contact details for all suppliers are below

>Every Birth is Different

By Pat Thomas, 9.50 inc. P&P from AIMS.

Having Babies - Women's experiences of giving birth

By Paddy O'Brien, Sheldon Press, 1994, ISBN 0-85969-698-7


Contact details for all suppliers are below

Home Birth Diaries

This is a wonderful new series following women as they plan home births in the UK. There are 13 births in the series, including first babies, mothers with previous caesarean sections, waterbirths, and transfers to hospital. It has been shown regularly on Discovery Health channel (still being repeated weekly now - August 2005). I am not aware of it being available to buy on DVD, but many homebirth support groups have copies which they lend out. If you still can't obtain a copy, ask on the Homebirth UK email group.

Developing Midwifery Skills: Home Birth

Primarily for midwives, but also useful for parents: covers the midwife's responsibility, the value of one-to-one care, and best practice. Made in UK (25 minutes).
£35.00 from ACE Graphics

Home Birth - Your Choice

NCT Outreach 1992, 30 mins.
Women who had booked home births with the NHS Albany midwifery group in Deptford, SE London, talk about why they chose home birth, and how it was for them. Mothers are from a variety of backgrounds - this video challenges stereotypes. Input from fathers and siblings too.
30 minutes, £18.00 from ACE Graphics.

Water & Birth -The Video

By Janet Balaskas and Amy Hardie
The birth experiences of three women at home and in hospital. The mothers and midwives involved are interviewed and the film is introduced by Janet Balaskas.
Running time 45 minutes. £12.95 , from Active Birth Centre


The producers say "´Birth´ follows eight women as they give birth in a variety of circumstances, including natural birth at home and in hospital, caesarean, twin and water birth. No attempt is made to promote one method of childbirth over another and all births are seen as a triumph with commentaries by mothers, partners, midwives and obstetricians accompanying their stories. The video shows explicit footage of childbirth."
ACE Graphics say that the only disappointment is that none of the mothers are shown giving birth in upright positions (70 minutes, UK 1993)
Available from ACE Graphics for £32.99, or direct from the producers, B-Line Productions Limited - check for their price.

The Human Body

Video of BBC series with Professor Robert Winston.
First episode on birth features a home birth. Available from the BBC for £19.99

How to prepare for a safe and easy water birth

Obstetrician Dr. Gowri Motha follows several first-time mothers though their pregnancies and births in water, including home birth. (58 min.)
£20 to buy, £10 to hire, from Splashdown

Gentle Birth Choices

Six births, including home and water birth, and interviews with Michel Odent, Marsden Wagner and others (46 minutes, USA 1995)
£27.50 to buy or £12.50 to hire, from Splashdown, £40 from ACE Graphics.

Birthing Naturally with an Australian Family

Follows the births of four children within one family - one in a birth centre, and three at home, with siblings assisting. 35 minutes - 1997
£25 from ACE Graphics.

Under her own steam

Story of home birth of a first baby in the Netherlands, with English commentary. 20 minutes, The Netherlands, 1993
£36 from ACE Graphics

With Both Feet on the Ground

Story of active home birth of first baby in the Netherlands again, with discussions about slow progress. 20 minutes, The Netherlands, 1993
£36 from ACE Graphics


(These suppliers are all in the UK; to use the phone numbers from outside the UK, remove the first zero and add +44)

NCT Maternity Sales (www.nctms.co.uk), Tel. 0141 6360600

AIMS Publications (www.aims.org.uk), Mandy Hawke, 2 Bacon Lane, Hayling Island, Hants POll ODN

Splashdown Waterbirth Services Bookshop - (www.splashdown.org.uk/book_list.htm) Tel. 020 8422 9308

BBC Shop (www.bbcshop.com/bbc_shop/), Tel. 0870 6007080

B-Line Productions Limited, (www.b-lineproductions.co.uk/birth.html), Tel. 020 8444 9574

Active Birth Centre (www.activebirthcentre.com), Tel. 020 7482 5554

Midirs (Midwives' Information and Resource Service), (www.midirs.org), Tel. 0117 925 1791

ACE Graphics - Associates in Childbirth Education. Orders can be posted from the UK or Australia.
(www.acegraphics.com.au), Tel. 01959 524622 (UK).
This company has a wonderful catalogue of childbirth education resources, available free on request.


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