This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Reflections: A midwife's tale

Written by: | Published:

Cheryl Opimo-Fisher, homebirth midwife Cheryl Opimo-Fisher, homebirth midwife at Hillingdon Hospital

More than 800,000 babies are born in the UK every year but just 2.3% of these are home births, writes Cheryl Opimo-Fisher.

It is interesting to note some areas of the country have noticeably higher homebirth rates, such west Somerset and Bridgend, Wales, which both exceed 9%.

In Hillingdon we have seen a more modest increase from 0.2% -1.8% since the introduction of a dedicated team last September indicating women's interest in homebirth if greater choice and support is available.

The question is why homebirths aren't more popular when hospital deliveries are a relatively recent practice?

The main reason is probably clinician's practising defensively and trying to minimise risk and maximise safety, even when the risk is negligible.

If midwives are competent and confident, there is reliable transport and a back-up maternity hospital with good communication and an interdisciplinary teamwork, then homebirths are as safe as hospital births.

The recently released NICE guidelines - Intrapartum Care - recommended this, and received much media coverage.

One of the challenges of being a homebirth midwife is sometimes having to mediate between obstetricians and mums-to-be.

The majority of clinicians prefer women to give birth in the controlled environment of a labour ward, whereas some women prefer the comfort of their own homes.

Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.


I spent 6 months doing home births in Hillingdon in 1969 while doing Part 2 Midwifery training. I used a bicycle to get to patients homes. It was great experience and a very happy time. Only once did we have to transfer a mother to hospital because there were no foetal movements or heart beat when I arrived at the house.
Posted by: ,

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.