Home Birth Transfer Is NOT A Failure

Published by Samantha on

As admin of  the Home Birth Support Group UK and South Wales Village Birth Circle, I often engage with women who would like to home birth – but are worried about a need for tranfser. 

There are a few strands to addressing this. 

Firstly and most important “HOME BIRTH TRANSFER IS NOT A FAILURE”.

Women have to go through all the stages of birth, being at home reduces the need for pain relief, chances of a post partum hemorrhage (PPH), tearing, instrumental delivery – true emergency transfer is rare. Transfer is usually for additional pain relief or going out of timescales, failure to wait in birth workers terms, failure to progress in medical speak.

If you need intervention at home, that necessitates transfer, you can be sure you would have needed that intervention if you had been in hospital for the whole birth.

All that transfer means is you have spent the best amount of time in the best place for the first stages of your birth and then transferred into hospital for the next stages, which for you is the best place for that. 

I would love to see language changed to reflect how amazing it is that a woman was at home for some of her birth and made the decision to go in for the rest if needed, instead of this being seen as somehow “less” or “wrong” or “failed”. Birthing women are incredible – they do not “fail”.

I once supported a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean section) client who wanted to have a home birth experience but also wanted to birth in hospital, so we had the pool, the music at home, the essential oils and when the time was right we went into the University Hospital of Wales – which is pretty much the same thing. It made her experience much more positive to have started her birth at home and go in at the right time for her.


Click HERE for more information on National and Local Birth Pool and Tens hire.

Many years of doulaing and running birth groups, long before I was a doula have taught me that women who prepare for their births, are always more satisfied, regardless of the path that birth took, than women who don’t and that home birthing women do more preparing in general.

Positive birth always comes from informed choice. I have a selection of birth stories from my group (posted with permission) as these stories are vital.

To quote Elyce Realf

“31ish hours of my 36 hour vbac labour (from first contraction to birth) at home. Transferred at 10cm as he had his head tilted and wasn’t coming down any further. I loved my home birth and sure, I would have loved to deliver at home too, but still achieved so much (and vbac was achieved with forceps). I will definitely home birth again next time. Best experience ever! I’d have had a multitude of interventions much earlier in hospital I’m sure.”

The Birthplace Study makes it clear, “Giving birth is generally very safe”.

If you have a life, birth or other story you would like to share, please email me HERE.

Induction is not always positive, but it can be and that is because it does not always come from a place of fully informed consent, in our Home Birth Support Group UK we support all the birth pathways of our members, whatever twists and turns they take. Remaining in control of your own births is key.

Stories such as the positive induction of  Jen Lewis,  VBAC Home Birth Turned Positive Induction of Cara and home birth turned positive induction of Scarlett Hana and gentle caesarean information can help prepare women for any situation.

For more information and current guidelines on induction – read my blog “Sweeps and Inductions, Inducting Labour, Making Informed Decisions” – HERE

The South Wales Birth Circle can also support you in your choice.

*Names changed.

Samantha Gadsden walks with women on their life’s journeys. She is an experienced Doula, based close to Cardiff in South Wales, mother to 4 children and wife to Eddie, more information can be found on her facebook page, Samantha Gadsden Doula and her website, Caerphilly DoulaSOS DoulaTelephone and online support is always available.

If you are interested in writing a guest blog or sharing a life or birth story please feel free to contact her HERE.

“Your Journey, Your Body, Your Baby, Your Birth

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VBAC Home Birth Turned Positive Induction Hospital Birth

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