New research animation to help parents decide where to have their babies

The midwifery team at Swansea University have recently produced an animation to help mothers and fathers make the most informed choice when deciding on where to have their baby.

The animation was developed at the College of Human and Health Sciences to provide a simple and easy to understand message about places of birth to support mothers and fathers to be, in making decisions about where to have their baby. The short film could be used by student midwives and midwives on their mobile phones to highlight the important points when discussing these choices with women and their families.


Different Options

Research has shown that most women in the UK give birth in hospital but the animation asks is this the best place for all women. There are many other options for expecting mothers and fathers to consider such as; Freestanding Midwifery Units (FMU’s), home births with a dedicated midwife or in a traditional obstetric unit in a hospital. A birthplace study by NPEU in 2012 looked at outcomes for thousands of healthy low risk mothers and babies and found that midwifery led units are just as safe as a hospital for women who are having their first baby. In fact mothers are more likely to have a normal birth in this environment and significantly less likely to receive intervention which can often have a negative effect.

Hospital births are recommended for the care of women who have a high risk pregnancy or who develop complications along the way. But for women with straightforward pregnancies having  babies in hospital can increase the chance of having unnecessary interventions such as:

  • electronic monitoring
  • epidural
  • instrumental delivery
  • Caesarean section

Research shows that levels of oxytocin (the love hormone) are higher in women who have fewer interventions in a relaxing environment. Higher levels of oxytocin make for successful breastfeeding and bonding.

Dr Sarah Norris, Head of Midwifery Education and Lead Midwife for Education at Swansea University said: The Midwifery team in Swansea University is passionate about ensuring our student midwives have the knowledge and understanding of the evidence to offer women fully informed choices throughout their pregnancies, labour and birth. We think this little film is a good way of supporting them, as well as helping mothers to be and their families reach decisions about their care.”