The pitter patter of royal baby feet is just around the corner – and Meghan Markle is said to be considering a “natural” home birth.
It wouldn’t be a first for the Royal Family. The Queen had all four of her children at home.
But the most recent trend has been for ‘safety first’. Both Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge chose the Lindo wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London for the arrival of their babies.
Meghan, 37, is said to have her own hand-picked team ready for her delivery – but is a home birth a good option for your average mum with no access to private health care?
The NHS typically provide two midwives. There is no doctor and no option to have an epidural, should one be needed at home.
“A risk assessment needs to be done for every mother who is considering a home birth,” says Clare Livingstone, policy adviser for the Royal College of Midwives.
“The NICE guidance states it is perfectly appropriate for pregnant women who have no risks, even if they are first-time mothers.
“If you have a pre-existing medical condition or any other concerns around the pregnancy, then a home birth isn’t advised.
“Age is also a factor, but we look at the whole picture. Every woman has the right to a home birth and will be advised of risks.”
In 2017 – the latest year statistics are available – there were 13,582 home births in the UK, just 2.1 per cent of the overall total.
But for 35-yearold mum-of-three Nicola Sheldon, it wasn’t the dream she envisaged.
“The birth of my second child, Thomas, in October 2015 was at home and was horrendous. During labour, everything appeared to be going to plan – there were no indications anything was wrong.
“But my baby was born blue and floppy – he wasn’t breathing. There were two midwives at the
MY WAY birth and no doctor. It was a huge shock.”
Nicola and her baby had to be rushed to hospital in separate ambulances – and she was told to prepare for the worst.
She recalls: “The consultant said it was looking very bad and asked if we wanted a chaplain.
“Thomas had been starved of oxygen for more than 50 minutes. He was having uncontrollable seizures and they couldn’t stabilise
Outcome was catastrophic. Thomas is lifelimited and has severe disabilities NICOLA SHELDON