In the UK it is legal to give birth at home without any professional or medical help.
However, it is illegal for an unqualified, unregistered person to perform the role of a doctor or midwife during the birth.
Standards and resources
As part of their training, all midwives are taught that they must
Work in partnership with women to facilitate a birth environment that supports their needs.
Provide care that is delivered in a warm, sensitive and compassionate way.
The Midwives rules and standards states that a midwife
Should respect the woman’s right to refuse any advice given
The Code states that
- You must listen to the people in your care and respond to their concerns and preferences
In addition, a recent report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) states that
- Women who choose a home delivery as their birth option should be supported in that choice, appropriate to the level of clinical risk.
In a free birth situation, the mother-to-be takes full responsibility for the birth of her baby.
The mother may choose to have any friend, partner or relative present at the birth.
They may support the mother emotionally but it is not legal for them to assist her in the birth or take any kind of responsibility for the successful outcome of the birth.
Midwives must respect a woman’s decision to have a free or unassisted birth.
The Code and NMC Midwives rules and standards require midwives to be supportive and not be judgemental or critical of this choice.
If midwives have any concerns at all about the woman’s decision, they must address them to their Supervisor of Midwives.”
Well, that’s made it all very plain. I think! Support her choice, be non-judgemental, contact my Supervisor of Midwives if have any concerns about her choice. Ummm, if I’m supporting her and being non-judgemental then going to my Supervisor could be perceived by a woman as obstructive and judgemental. Oh well. All I can say is, as I said here, if you thinking about it then please don’t just read the legal stuff and DIY sites on the web, there are a lot of sites out there with enthusiastic people who mean well but can be somewhat blinkered when it comes to the nitty-gritty. Talk to your midwife, see if a compromise can be reached, most of us don’t want to be ‘in control’, we would just like to try and help you, and your baby, have a positive, safe birth.