On this page:

We are pleased to confirm that we have today (Friday, 15 January) re-started our homebirth service, meaning women planning to have their baby at home, and who live in areas which the Trust services, will be supported by our midwifery teams to do so.

Women who are planning to have a home-birth should now continue with their original birth plan, and contact their midwife and/hospital as and when needed, and in the usual way.

Is a homebirth right for you?

We are committed to supporting you in your choice about where you give birth. We particularly encourage you to consider homebirth if you are healthy and having an uncomplicated pregnancy. We cover all of Wandsworth and parts of Merton.

If you choose to have a home birth, midwives from the Rainbow Team will provide all of your antenatal and postnatal care in your own home, as well as attending the birth.
You can call the team anytime to discuss homebirth on 020 8725 2537. We also have social media pages you can check out and every other month we have a Meet and Greet for women and families who are planning or considering a homebirth to meet the midwives from the team, and hear some positive birthing stories.

Frequently asked questions and testimonials from women who have given birth at home with the Rainbow Team:

What are the benefits of home birth?

The Rainbow Team offer continuity of care throughout your pregnancy, birth and beyond. This means that they will know you well and will be able to support your choices. Other benefits include:

  • Home is generally a relaxed environment, which helps labour progress.
  • There is no need to interrupt labour to go into hospital.
  • You can choose who is present at the birth, including your own children
  • If you are healthy with an uncomplicated pregnancy you are more likely to have a normal birth with fewer interventions such as forceps, ventouse or emergency caesarean, even if you transfer to hospital
  • You can enjoy the comfort of your own bed and the use of your own bathroom afterwards.

Do I need any special equipment?
No. We will ask you to provide some towels and plastic sheeting or old sheets to protect your furniture but all clinical equipment is provided by your midwife.

If you want to have a waterbirth at home, you will need to provide your own pool. These can be bought, borrowed or hired easily. Please see the local Facebook group for ideas on how to source a pool or speak to your midwife.

Is my home suitable?
It doesn’t matter if you live in a flat or a house, birth doesn’t require a huge amount of space. You must have access to hot water and heating, but other than that there are no restrictions.

“Her entire birth had felt natural and safe, in my familiar environment. By midnight we were both curled up in my bed and it was so magical.”

What if I have other children?
Many women choose to have a homebirth for their second or subsequent birth. What you do with other children while you are in labour is up to you and there is no right or wrong way.

Will it be messy?
The midwives will keep mess to a minimum. We provide you with absorbent pads and the midwives will clear up all clinical waste and take it away when they leave.

Is it noisy?
Most women don’t worry about the noise. You may want to warn your neighbours, but most neighbours are unaware of a birth happening and there has never been a complaint.

Can I have pain relief?
We provide “Gas and Air” during labour. We encourage you to consider obtaining a pool as it offers great pain relief even if you don’t want to give birth in water.

Is it safe?
Numerous studies have demonstrated the safety of home birth, notoriously the Birthplace study.

The midwives carry out the same checks in labour that are given in the midwife-led unit at the hospital, including regular monitoring of the baby’s heartbeat and observations of the mother. At 37 weeks the midwife will drop off a “home birth bag” which contains much of the clinical equipment necessary for the labour and birth, as well as some emergency equipment. When the midwife arrives for the labour she will bring additional equipment to ensure mother and baby’s safety, including emergency drugs and resuscitation equipment. Because the midwife caring for you in labour at home knows you, she is more likely to pick up any deterioration quickly. Two midwives are present for the actual birth.

If a transfer to hospital is required, the Rainbow Team liaise with the London Ambulance Service to ensure a quick transfer time. In an emergency, an ambulance will be provided within 8 minutes. However, the vast majority of transfers from home to hospital are NOT an emergency. Most transfers take place because labour lasts longer than expected and/or additional pain relief is requested.