Choosing where to give birth can influence of the type of birth you will have. The choice of where you give birth is yours.
You should consider what services you may want e.g., the forms of pain relief. You should also think about where you will feel most relaxed, comfortable and in control.
Depending on your situation and the health of your pregnancy we may recommend one setting over another, but we will support you in your choice.
We will ask you where you plan to give birth at your booking appointment. You can choose whether you plan to give birth at home or at either of our hospitals. You can also choose to give birth at a midwife led unit.
Anyone can choose to have a hospital birth. We recommend giving birth in a consultant-led maternity unit for people with a high-risk medical problem or obstetric history, or a problem with their current pregnancy or baby.
There are consultant-led maternity units at our hospitals in Brighton, Haywards Heath, Worthing and Chichester.
A midwife will care for you throughout your time on labour ward. You can have whoever you would like to support you in labour; your partner, a relative or a close friend. Doulas and natural therapists are welcome onto the units. Please discuss your birth plan with your midwife.
Our labour rooms are well-equipped with birthing balls, bean bags and birthing mats so you can be active in labour. We also have birthing pools at all sites.
All our maternity units have specialist obstetric theatres and recovery beds for elective (planned) Caesareans and emergency and assisted deliveries. There is a consultant on call for each site 24/7 and all sites provide medical, obstetric, neonatal and anaesthetic care.
Midwifery-led unit (MLU)
MLUs support low-risk people to have normal births without medical intervention. They offer a more relaxed, homely environment. They can be ‘alongside’ an obstetric unit which means they are within a hospital or ‘freestanding’ where they are separate from the nearest main hospital.
We have an MLU in Chichester alongside St Richard’s Hospital.
Midwives will care for you during labour and support you to have a normal birth. If you plan to give birth at a MLU and you need specialist medical care or pain relief, such as an epidural, you will need to transfer to the nearest consultant-led unit. This may be by ambulance if you choose an MLU that is not at our hospital site.
We run an award-winning homebirth service supporting low-risk people to give birth at home.
Highly experienced community midwives run our home birth service both day and night.
If you choose to have your baby at home a midwife will support you. They will come to you when your labour is established and will stay until your baby is born. You may feel safer and more relaxed in your own home environment, and you can have more family members around to support you if need.
If you plan to give birth at home and you need specialist medical care or pain relief, such as an epidural, you will need to transfer to the nearest consultant-led unit by ambulance.
Sometimes the place you give birth will need to change. This could be due to changes in your pregnancy or the availability of care at one of our hospital sites. The quality of the care we give you will stay the same and we will ensure that you and your baby are cared for in the safest place.