From the Daily Mail 14/12/06
More women are choosing to give birth at home.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that 17,279 UK births in 2005 took place at home, compared with 15,198 in 2004.
Analysis by the NCT showed that the biggest increase – 18.9 per cent – was in Wales, where ministers have pledged to increase the number of home births.
That figure is up on the 16.2 per cent recorded in the previous year.
Wales now has a home birth rate of 3.61 per cent – the fastest growing home birth rate in the UK, the charity said.
England meanwhile had a below UK-average rise of 13.4 per cent for the same period, with a home birth rate of 2.53 per cent.
Scotland had the second highest rise in the number of home births with an increase of 14.6 per cent over the period, the NCT said.
In Northern Ireland, the number of home births fell by 12.9 per cent, resulting in a home birth rate of 0.33 per cent.
Mary Newburn, head of policy at the NCT, said: “Wales is now leading the way in provision of home birth services and choice for women.
“It would be fantastic if England could emulate this success, but the evidence suggests this will only happen if there is a commitment to a specific health service target to increase the home birth rate.
“Currently women in many areas of the UK still find it difficult to choose a home birth.
“There is not enough balanced information available to enable them to make an informed choice about where to have their baby, and the shortage of midwives means that too often the option of a home birth is either not being offered or services end up being withdrawn at short notice.”
The Government has pledged to increase women’s choices when it comes to where to give birth. Ms Newburn said: “The Government’s aims now need to be realised so that women are able to benefit from a real choice of where to give birth, including at home.
“We know of many low-risk women all over the UK, including Brighton, London, Liverpool and Leeds who have had straightforward pregnancies yet have been denied a home birth in the last 12 months for reasons beyond their control.”
TV presenter Davina McCall, the NCT’s ambassador for home birth, said: “I gave birth to all three of my children at home and it was truly amazing.
“It’s great to hear that more and more mums are having the same fantastic experiences, but isn’t it a shame that a lot of other women still won’t have their wish to give birth at home come true this Christmas?”
but there are wide regional variations, the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) said today.