BETSI Cadwaladr University Health Board’s (BCUHB) maternity services have reintroduced home births as a choice for women.

The service was temporarily halted due to ongoing pressures on the system.

Fiona Giraud, Director of Midwifery and Womens Services, said: “After a careful review, I am pleased to confirm the reintroduction of our home birth service in North Wales.

“We are working closely with our colleagues at Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST), and our community midwives will provide guidance to expectant mothers to support them in making the right birth choices for them and their baby.”

Bethan Jones, Welsh Ambulance Service’s Local Safety Champion for Maternity and Neonatal Care, said: “As an organisation, we will continue to support birth choices of those wishing to birth at home and give the confidence to everyone involved that our services are available should they be needed.

“We will continue to work closely with colleagues in the health board to ensure that the reintroduction of home birth services is a positive and safe experience for women, birthing people, their babies and families.”

Rhyl Journal: Nicola WardNicola Ward (Image: BCUHB)
Mum Nicola Ward, of Prestatyn, shared her experience of having a home birth.

She said: “I initially chose to have my first baby at home, after doing some reading I wanted to do it as natural as possible. I also don’t really like hospitals and I feel the safest and most comfortable at home, so I knew being at home would be the best environment for me to give birth.

“I went on to have a beautiful first birth with my baby, Rose. I felt like having a dedicated midwife and team around me felt like a luxury and was given personalised care.

“I decided to have another home birth with my second baby, but that went very differently. He was 10lb 7oz and was a shoulder dystocia birth, which is when the baby’s shoulder is stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone, so it was a very tough labour. Once I delivered his head his body wouldn’t come out, so my midwife Helen rotated him by hand and he came out, but he had to be resuscitated and we were taken to hospital by ambulance.

“I felt completely looked after from my midwives and my care was never compromised at all in that situation by being at home. I had excellent personalised care, and the same thing would have happened if were in the hospital.

“I experienced a lot of trauma from that birth, including from having to be in hospital following the birth. So, when I got pregnant again I really had to think about where to give birth, but I still whole heartedly believed in a home birth was the best for me.

“Thankfully, Helen, who went through my previous birth with me, was my midwife and she was so supportive of what I wanted, and was clear that it was my choice. Her support was unwavering throughout and she’s become a family friend. She’s an amazing woman, the whole team are incredible.

“With my third baby I gave birth to my baby Austin at home a week early, and he was born within three hours. It was a textbook birth and everything we could have asked for."


Rhyl Journal: Holly OwenHolly Owen (Image: BCUHB)
Another mum called Holly Owen, also of Prestatyn, has shared her decision to have a home birth.

She said: "I wanted a home birth with my first baby, as it was during Covid-19 and I wanted to be in the comfort of my own home, but I had a long labour so after about 24 hours I went into hospital for more pain relief.

“I didn’t really feel comfortable having to go into the hospital to give birth, so when I was having my second baby I still wanted a home birth, and my midwife was really supportive of my choice.

“I think I was more relaxed planning it the second time and I didn’t put too much pressure on myself, because you can plan a home birth but if you decide you want to go into hospital you can do. I gave birth to Barney at home and it worked out perfectly, it was exactly how I wanted it to go.

“I felt very comfortable and relaxed being at home and I was in control with who was there with me and my surroundings. It was also great having my community midwife Helen be able to be there for the birth too, which doesn’t happen when you give birth in hospital, and Helen and the team were great."

If you are expecting and have any questions or concerns about home births, contact your community midwifery team or click here.