Our homebirth service is staffed by community/birth centre midwives who are based within the birth centre at Burnley/Blackburn.
Women wanting a homebirth are advised to discuss this with their community midwife in a timely manner—ideally before 36wks pregnant to allow time for a home birth home assessment, ordering of the gases and medication required, and delivery of the home birth equipment required for the birth.
At the home birth home assessment, the midwife will need to see the area in which you are planning to labour and birth to ensure care can be provided safely with adequate space for transfer via ambulance should any emergency arise. This also includes assessing the location and outdoors area of the home/ premise to make sure it is accessible in various weather conditions.
The midwife will discuss all of the practical details of birthing at home, when/who to call in labour, preparations to be made prior, potential situations indicating transfer to the main obstetric unit at Burnley and how this will be facilitated, and will leave a home birth kit containing all necessary equipment for the birth. You will be advised on the storage of this kit, and also the gases and medication which are delivered directly to your home from pharmacy.
It is important all of these plans are in place no later than 37wks as it is normal to birth your baby between 37-42wks. Outside of these parameters, you will be advised to labour and birth on birth suite within the main obstetric unit at Burnley Hospital due to being preterm (<37wks) or post-mature
(>42wks) - both of which indicate the need for continuous monitoring; the equipment needed for this can only be found on birth suite.
When you feel you are in labour, you will be advised to call Burnley/Blackburn birth centre so that a midwife can perform a triage assessment over the phone and advise on the best time for midwives to come to your house and care for you. If any new concerns for yours or baby’s wellbeing arise at any time, you will be advised as to whether a homebirth would still be considered a safe option or whether transfer to the birth suite (high-risk care facility with midwives and doctors) is indicated.
During the day, midwives will be relocated from other tasks to facilitate the homebirth service. However, during the night this service is staffed using on-call midwives (community midwives based at Burnley/ Blackburn birth centres) who will be called in from home to attend. It is worth bearing in mind some of the midwives will have to commute to get to you, and so you are advised to call in a timely manner to inform them that labour has started.