Midwife says home births are at least as safe as hospital deliveries

Midwife claims home births can be ‘safer’ than hospital deliveries – as the Duchess prepares to welcome baby Sussex to the world at Frogmore cottage

  • Leah Hazard has released a new book called ‘Hard Pushed: A Midwife’s Story’
  • Appearing on Lorraine, author called it both a ‘love letter’ and a ‘call for help’ 
  • She claimed ‘home birth can be at least as safe if not safer’ than hospital delivery
  •  Also argued midwifery portrayed in Call the Midwife is very different to reality

A midwife who appeared on Lorraine this morning revealed how a home birth could be safer than a hospital delivery – as Meghan prepares to welcome baby Sussex any day now.  

Leah Hazard, who appeared on the sofa to speak about her new book, ‘Hard Pushed: A Midwife’s story,’ told the presenter that ‘there’s lot of evidence to suggest that for a healthy woman, a home birth can be at least as safe, if not safer than having a baby in the hospital.’ 

It’s previously been reported that the Duchess of Sussex, 37, wishes to give birth naturally in the calm surroundings of her secluded Windsor home.

But now a week overdue and with no sign of the royal baby’s arrival, the mother-to-be was last night facing the disappointing prospect of induced labour and a hospital birth. 

Leah Hazard appeared on Lorraine this morning to speak about her new book, ‘Hard Pushed: A Midwife’s story’, which she called a tale of ‘love letters’ and also a ‘cry for help’

Speaking to Lorraine, she revealed how ‘there’s lot of evidence to suggest that for a healthy woman, a home birth can be at least as safe if not safer than having a baby in the hospital’

The Scottish presenter pointed out that since BBC drama Call the Midwife started, most women opted for home births, then it moved to hospital and now there seems to be a trend going back to home births. 

As she proceeded to ask Leah whether home births make her job harder, the midwife explained: ‘As midwives we have the responsibility to honour an informed choice.’ 

‘When a woman has the first point of contact with the midwife, one of the first things she should really be asked is, “where would you like to have your baby.”‘

‘From there on, it’s the conversation between the woman and the midwife – and what the woman wants, ultimately.’

 Leah’s claims come following reports that the Duchess of Sussex, 37, wishes to give birth naturally in the calm surroundings of her secluded Windsor home

The midwife also compared her role to that portrayed in the BBC series Call the Midwife and said: ‘Midwifery has always been a skilled art and a craft. It’s even more complex than its ever been, it’s really challenging’

Speaking of the hit BBC series, Leah explained that a lot of midwives nowadays would agree that the programme is not a world many midwives recognise any more.

‘Our role is very different nowadays,’ she said. ‘Midwifery has always been a skilled art and a craft. It’s even more complex than its ever been, it’s really challenging.’

‘The women we work with have really complex, diverse needs and we have to coordinate that care and meet those needs.’ 

Leah also told the presenter how her new book is not only a ‘love letter’ to the women she looks after and her fellow midwives, but is also a ‘cry for help.’  

‘In the course of my job I’ve learned women are so much stronger than they themselves believe – and that’s speaking of the patients and the staff,’ she explained. 

The Scottish presenter pointed out that since BBC drama Call the Midwife started, most women opted for home births, then it moved to hospital and now there seems to be a trend going back to home births

Speaking of how the ups and downs that come with her role, Leah said: ‘I think every midwife has her own way of coping with that and tragedy and joy do go hand-in-hand as part of our job’

‘I’ve seen incidents of incredible heroism, tragedy, joy – and I really wanted to share that with the world. 

‘I also wanted to let the world know the NHS is really at a difficult stage and as midwives, we always want to give the best care, but with the way the health services are at the minute, we’re not able to do that.’

And while many midwives experience joy when there’s a new life brought into the world, they also encounter the absolute tragedy when things go wrong.

I think every midwife has her own way of coping with that, and tragedy and joy do go hand-in-hand as part of our job,’ she explained. 

‘And I think that’s the part of the job some people are’t aware of. We’re getting better at talking about loss in society and these are part and parcel of the midwife’s work.’ 

She continued: ‘Any midwife will have stories of women that will stick with them forever.’

‘It’s difficult to switch off on your days off and from shift to shift – every midwife will have names and faces that they think about.  The first thing they want to know when they get back to work is how did she get on – it’s just a part of the job.’    

Home births 

According to Liz Halliday, deputy head of midwifery at Private Midwives, the influence of the Duchess of Sussex, who is expecting her first child any day now is palpable

‘We’re pleased to see that Meghan’s hopes of a home birth have inspired other women to do the same and exercise their right to a birthing experience that is of their own choosing – especially given the often-overlooked benefits associated with home births,’ she said.

‘For most women who don’t have complex clinical needs, being in your own home during labour and birth can significantly increase comfort and reduce stress, making for a smoother birthing process.’

‘A home birth typically provides continuity of care as well, as women are attended to by the same midwife during antenatal care, birth and postnatal care.

‘Crucially, studies have also found that home births offer benefits to mother and by including but not limited to decreased rates of interventions in labour, lower rates of instrumental or cesarean birth, lower incidence of perineal trauma, episiotomy and post-partum haemorrhage, increased breastfeeding success rates and increased maternal satisfaction.’

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