Homebirths to restart with safeguards for midwives

BBC News – Scotland

2020-06-22 23:00:11

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Louise Day

Women who want a homebirth will have to sign an agreement promising to provide a series of safeguards for the midwife attending.

The arrangement in the Lothians includes a limit of one birthing partner and the need for a separate changing space for midwives.

The move follows fears resuming the homebirth service would put midwives at extra risk of catching Covid-19.

Homebirths were suspended in most areas at the start of the pandemic.

Frances McGuire, chief midwife for NHS Lothian, said: “We have been working hard to ensure that we can deliver the safest possible home birth service for mums, their newborn babies and our midwives.

“We are confident we now have systems in place and the service will resume on 29 June.”

The service had been due to resume in the Lothians on 1 June but stalled until midwives were given guarantees about their safety in other people’s houses.

The agreement brokered by trade unions means only one partner is allowed through the labour and birth, and if the home has two toilets then one must be for the sole use of the midwife.

A separate area for the midwife to get changed into protective clothing, as well as take breaks from the rest of the household, must also be provided.

‘It was easier than I thought it was going to be’

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Lousie Day

Image caption

Louise and Alfie Day look at daughter Eilidh minutes after her birth at their Edinburgh home

Louise and Alfie Day desperately wanted their second child to be born at home and thought that chance had escaped them when the coronavirus lockdown saw the suspension of midwife-supported homebirths.

But the couple decided to press ahead anyway and Louise delivered baby Eilidh herself three weeks ago without the need for any medical help.

“I really wanted my baby at home from the start, before Covid I thought it was the safest place and when Coronavirus struck I just thought I don’t want to put my family at risk by going into hospital, so I just decided to go ahead and just try it,” she said.

“It was easier than I thought. I was quite worried about it, but once you go into labour you just go into that zone.

“Labour’s hard but it was made more relaxed by being at home with my husband. ”

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