Draft: Birthplace Decisions, Information for pregnant women and partners on planning where to give birth

This is a draft document, which we are currently seeking your views on.

What is this guide for?

This is a draft document, which we are currently seeking your views on. If you would like to respond to a short survey about this document, please go to https://consult.gov.scot/children-and-families/birthplace-decisions-leaflet

This guide is intended to help you plan where to give birth.

Planning where to give birth is an important decision that you make during pregnancy. You can use this guide by yourself or to support discussions with your midwife or doctor (obstetrician) about where you choose to give birth.

The term women has been used throughout this document as this is the way that the majority of those who are pregnant and having a baby will identify. For the purpose of this document, this term includes girls. It also includes people whose gender identity does not correspond with their birth sex or who may have a non-binary identity.

All healthcare services should be respectful and responsive to individual needs and you should be asked how you wish to be addressed throughout your care.[1]

An Equality Impact Assessment has been produced to accompany this publication.

When deciding where to give birth you should discuss your options with your midwife throughout your pregnancy. You should consider:

  • your preferences for birth, what kind of birth you would like, and what kinds of support you might need during labour;
  • transfer times, and those of your birth supporters;
  • whether you have any history or pre-existing medical conditions (see Appendix 1 for more information) that make it more likely that you and your baby might need urgent medical intervention during your labour or birth, and
  • wherever you choose to give birth should feel the safest place for you.

During your antenatal care, your midwife, or obstetrician, will discuss your and your baby’s health and provide you with advice on where would be most suitable for you to give birth.

You can change your plans about where to have your baby at any stage of your pregnancy.

A wider variety of birth settings are now being provided in many areas. All birth settings should be comfortable, provide privacy and dignity, and promote active labour and birth, encouraging mobility. All NHS Boards should aim to give you a range of pain relief. More information on pain relief option is provided throughout the leaflet. Please also speak to your midwife about what pain relief options are available locally.

Planning where to have your baby is an important decision. Evidence shows that giving birth is generally very safe.[2] You can choose where to have your baby and this guide can answer some of the questions you may have about the availability and safety of all the options you may be offered.

For some women, the safest option will be a Caesarean birth. A Caesarean birth may be offered to you during labour if complications arise or if you make an informed choice for this.


Email: thebeststart@gov.scot

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