Home Birth Reference Site

Links

General

(each link will open in a new window)

Home Birth UK mailing list - a home birth support group by email.
For parents who are interested in home birth in the UK, or who have planned or had home births in the past, midwives, co-ordinators of home birth support groups, etc..
(http://groups.yahoo.com/group/homebirthUK)

The Association of Radical Midwives has some interesting articles on midwifery and birth choices, including a student midwife's views of home birth.
www.midwifery.org.uk

AIMS (Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services). Information on pregnancy and childbirth care, and midwifery, and support for parents and professionals in the UK and Ireland. If you experience difficulties in booking a home birth, these are the people to contact.
www.aims.org.uk

Student Midwives Support Network - for wannabe midwives and students - lots of info for informed mothers too.
www.studentmidwife.net

The Midwifery Sanctuary - A resource for individuals seeking to enter Midwifery as a profression, whilst also a sanctuary for wannabe Midwives, students and qualified Midwives. Detailed information on many topics from applying to university to applying for your first Midwifery job.
www.themidwiferysanctuary.com

Sheila Kitzinger's Homepage - thoughts on home birth, references, and home birth in the news, from a well-respected natural birth advocate.
www.sheilakitzinger.com

Home Birth Matters by Sheila Kitzinger - the state of home birth in the UK and abroad. Highly recommended and well-referenced article. Published in BIRTH - Issues in Perinatal Care, March 2000 Vol. 27.1
www.sheilakitzinger.com/birth%20Homebirth.htm

National Childbirth Trust - UK charity for expectant and new parents, famous for its wonderful ante-natal classes. Contact HQ to get details of your local branch, and ask if there is a Home Birth Support Group near you. Local groups will be able to advise you on maternity care in your area, and you can often contact women who have had home births locally.

Women's Health - Research-based articles give an informed medical perspective on on pregnancy choices and complications. If your home birth booking may be affected by issues such as prelabour rupture of membranes or post-dates pregnancy, this site can help you to assess the risks involved. Highly recommended.

With Woman - new site established by two UK midwives, offering articles on birth and midwifer, as well as birth art, poetry, birth stories, and education. (www.withwoman.co.uk)

Midwife Archives at www.gentlebirth.org - collections of discussions and suggestions from midwives worldwide, but mostly in the USA, about many aspects of birth, including home birth.

I Want My Mum!
Forums for 'progressive parenting' - pro breastfeeding, research-based parenting forums with Midwives, Breast Feeding Counsellors, SANDS Bereavement Counsellor on site. We cover Conception, Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, believing an informed choice is a happy choice. (www.iwantmymum.com)

Natural Parenting UK Beautifully-designed site with information on natural birth, breastfeeding, and family life.
(www.natural-parenting.com)

A Little Wish - please read this before you write your birth plan. This site is about post-pregnancy hysterectomy, which affects a significant number of women each year. It is most relevant to women who have caesareans; at some hospitals, 1 in 100 c-sections will end in a hysterectomy because of complications of the operation. However, hysterectomy much more rarely occurs after a vaginal birth, eg because of severe bleeding. There are no nationally-collected statistics on this problem. A Little Wish seeks to help women avoid post-pregnancy hysterectomy, collect information on its occurrence, and support those who have been through it.
www.a-little-wish.co.uk

Bornfree! The Unassisted Childbirth Page, by Laura Shanley (for people planning home birth without a midwife or doctor in attendance). http://ucbirth.com

Homebirth 8k.com T-shirts and mugs and more besides... all with slogans supporting home birth! From the Glasgow Natural Birth and Home Birth Support Group.
(http://homebirth.8k.com )

As it Happens: Baby Barnes - home birth on a message board! This family posted regular updates to a message board throughout the labour and home birth of their 10lb 4oz son; you can feel the excitement.
(from www.thelaboroflove.com, search for message boards)

Robbie Davis-Floyd is a cultural anthropologist who writes about childbirth, especially in the USA. Some detailed and well-referenced articles.
(www.davis-floyd.com)

Homebirth Haven: New site with discussion boards on many topics related to home birth. A wonderful initiative!
(http://pub9.ezboard.com/bhomebirthhaven)

Birth Love - some wonderful, radical and thought-provoking articles about birth at home and in hospital. The author's last baby was born at home at 46 weeks gestation weighing over 12lbs!! Unfortunately has recently gone subscription-only, but there are still some articles you can access freely.
(www.birthlove.com)

Homebirth Webring - list of sites

British Medical Journal editorial: states that home birth is safe for normal, low-risk women, with adequate support.

Review of literature by J Hughes, reproduces abstracts of studies on the safety of home birth, maternal satsfaction with home and hospital births, and other related subjects. A couple of these studies are also listed here, but many are relevant to childbirth in general as well as home birth. Includes references to studies on medical sociology and culture.

The Weedpatch article on home birth safety: excellent article by a midwife citing research conducted mainly in the USA, with full bibliography on the site.

Midwifery Today online magazine - many articles relevant to home birth, including two listed below.

The Homebirth Choice - about home birth in the USA (in Midwifery Today).

Brighton Home Birth Support Group article, 'Why Choose a Home Birth?' - a few years old now, but worth a read for anybody considering home birth. Some information is specific to the UK. (in Midwifery Today)

The Homebirth Advantage, by Mid-Oregon Midwifery Service

Birthrite.com publishes a summary of study results: home vs hospital birth (data collected 1975-77). This study, like many others, found that babies born at home tended to be in much better condition: higher APGAR scores, fewer infections, illnesses etc.. Even after accounting for transfers, mothers who booked a home birth had far fewer caesareans and episiotomies.

Homebirth Worldwide

New Zealand Homebirth Association
www.homebirth.org.nz

Home Birth Association of Ireland How to arrange a home birth in Ireland. Includes information for midwives, eg a history of midwifery in the country.
www.iol.ie/~hba

Spain - Vanessa Brooks - lay midwife living and working in the south of Spain
www.da-a-luz.co.uk

France - Natural Birth Support
(http://perinatalite.chez.tiscali.fr/index.html)

Nascita Dolce - Italy's first midwife-run birth centre. Site is in Italian but English language pages are planned.
(www.nascitadolce.com)

Homebirth Australia - Australia's national home birth support organisation, with contacts (www.homebirthaustralia.org)

Australian Maternity Coalition - National umbrella reform group with lots of links to midwives.
www.maternitycoalition.org.au

Joyous Birth - Australian homebirth network.
www.joyousbirth.info

Home Birth and Midwives Support Network for Illinois: Includes well-referenced articles on home birth safety, hospital acquired infections, death in childbirth, and 'what midwives do'.

Services and Products

Things I've found useful in pregnancy and motherhood, or which others have recommended...

Baby Basics Birthpools
Kim Cotton's new company, hiring out birth stools, birthing balls, and other items to hire or buy, as well as birth pools.
www.babybasicsbirthpools.co.uk

Birth Friendly - run by homebirth mum Sarah Ockwell-Smith, whose birth stories are on this site! The online shop sells goods for more alternative pregnancies and births, with a big emphasis on homebirth, eg pro-homebirth baby and toddler clothing, homebirth keepsake certificates and other related things like cord ties and mattress protectors/inco pads etc..Sarah is also a HypnoBirthing practitioner (on the North Essex/Cambridge borders) and homeopath (specialising in pregnancy and birth). She says: I have a free information section on my website regarding alternative pregnancy and birth (and offer free email advice to anybody who contacts me).
www.birthfriendly.co.uk

Baby slings - most babies love being carried and it makes your life easier. There are lots of slings made by small companies which are much nicer than the ones sold on the high street, and work better too. For instance, see www.littlepossums.co.uk or www.happybabysling.com.

UK Birth Pool suppliers - see page on Waterbirth.

Labour Aids - birth balls, TENS machines etc - see Home Birth Equipment List

Home Birth Kits - UK mail-order company which does what it says on the tin!

No Cry Sleep Solution - Elizabeth Pantley offers an alternative to crying it out - a variety of tried and tested approaches. (www.pantley.com/elizabeth)

Well Mother - explains how massage, shiatsu and exercise can help during pregnancy and parenthood. Working face-to-face in Bristol, UK.
(www.wellmother.org)

Active Birth Centre - Lists Active Birth teachers in the UK, and some internationally. The Centre is in North London, and it runs some excellent workshops on active birth, breastfeeding, water birth, as well as antenatal yoga classes, and baby massage. It hires out birth pools. Famous natural birth obstetrician Michel Odent gives regular talks there.

Ruth Armes' Active Birth Classes - has a map showing all Active Birth teachers in the UK, and details of her own classes.
(www.RuthArmes.com)

Breastfeeding Support and Information

Note: a 'Breastfeeding Counsellor' is someone who provides breastfeeding information and support. Breastfeeding counsellors prefer this term to being called, say, 'Breastfeeding advisors', because the voluntary breastfeeding support organisations all emphasise that they provide information so that you can make your own decisions; they do not 'advise'. Generally breastfeeding counsellors with voluntary organisations are mothers who have breastfed their own children, and who have undergone thorough training.

La Leche League International LLL are the international experts on breastfeeding - find out how to make breastfeeding work for you, and how to avoid problems before they crop up. If you're in the UK, see www.laleche.org.uk.

National Childbirth Trust - many NCT branches have breastfeeding counsellors, and there is a national breastfeeding helpline. See www.nctpregnancyandbabycare.com or call the NCT breastfeeding line on 0870 444 8708.

Breastfeeding Network - another wonderful UK voluntary organisation in which mothers support mothers after receiving training in breastfeeding support. Also has a drugs information line wo that you, your midwife, doc or pharmacist can check what is safe to take while breastfeeding. (www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk)

The Association Of Breastfeeding Mothers - a well-respected UK voluntary breastfeeding support organisation, with counsellors, local groups and a telephone helpline.
www.abm.me.uk

007 Breasts Breasts are for breastfeeding - this wonderful, well-informed site explains how breasts of all shapes and sizes do their job, and how social attitudes can get in the way. It will make you feel proud of your body and its potential. Lots of discussion of how different breast shapes and sizes affect breastfeeding, support for nursing in public, and general breastfeeding info. Well-referenced, well-argued - highly recommended.
(www.007b.com)

UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative works with health professionals to introduce best practice standards in the support of breastfeeding. Our web site provides an easy-to-read yet detailed review of breastfeeding and health, information about our resources and training opportunities, statistics, guidance, information and references on Baby Friendly best practice standards, leaflets for parents (in several languages), and strategies for promoting and supporting breastfeeding beyond the health service.
www.babyfriendly.org.uk

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Last updated: 4 Feb 2007

Home Birth Reference Page
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