Local families, midwives and community members came together at an event today to celebrate one year since the launch of our Tower Hamlets Home birth service.
Over the last year, the new dedicated team has supported 37 new mums to birth their babies at home, compared with 22 in 2017.
Midwives are keen to encourage more mums-to-be living in the local area to consider birthing at home as a safe and comfortable option for them and their baby.
Jessica Mears gave birth with the team 9 months ago, welcoming her third child, a baby boy called Idris. She said: “I was already a mum of two when I was pregnant with Idris, so having the midwives visit me at home for all my appointments was so helpful and made the whole process much less stressful… Juggling work and kids is stressful enough without having to juggle getting to and from hospital appointments as well.
“To me it’s a no brainer. The care you get with Tower Hamlets Home birth team is the highest quality and you have midwives who are truly invested in you and care about you and your baby.”
“Already knowing and trusting the women who are going to be there with you during the birth is so comforting. The delivery is just one part of a much bigger picture. Having the amazing home birth team look after you throughout the pregnancy is what’s so special about the experience.”
Zoe Prien birthed her 7 month old daughter Evie at home with the team. She said: “The day I gave birth to Evie was actually really enjoyable. A completely different experience to the birth of my first child. The aftercare was also brilliant. It was amazing already knowing my midwives.
“I would definitely encourage other women to consider home birth with the team. Go along to a ‘Meet the Midwife’ meeting. Talk to other women who have had a home birth and talk to them midwives. That’s what made me realise this was right for me.”
Barts Health NHS Trust began providing the service in January 2018, increasing choice alongside our other local maternity services at The Royal London Hospital, including the hospital’s midwife-led Lotus Centre, and the Barkantine Birth Centre on the Isle of Dogs. We are one of only two NHS Trusts to offer all four birthing options in London.
Special guest Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs attended today’s event to show his support for the dedicated team. He said: "As a council, we work closely with partners including Barts Health to improve access to maternal health services and increase awareness of the importance of health before, during and after pregnancy and during the first few years of a child’s life.
“It is exciting to learn about the work of the local home birth service and how in its first year, the team has increased support to residents, offering women more choice about where to have a baby.”
Home births are recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) as the best option for women with low-risk pregnancies who have already given birth before. Labour is often shorter, there is less risk of infection and babies have better outcomes due to the more relaxed environment and one-to-one care given to mothers and babies.
Unlike other options, women who birth at home will often see the same midwife throughout their pregnancy in the comfort of their own home and at times that suit them. They will also be attended by two midwives during labour.
Irene Olanrewaju, home birth team leader said: “Birthing at home is a fantastic option for many women and I'm proud it's now a reliable service in Tower Hamlets. The women we have cared for over the last year have really appreciated seeing the same midwife throughout their pregnancy and told us they experienced the birth they had dreamed of.
“Seeing so many more women birth at home this year compared to the year before shows what setting up a dedicated team can achieve and we hope to care for many more women in 2019.”
A drop-in session to meet the home birth team is held at Mile End Children's Centre on the last Monday of every month from 1pm-4pm.