Your birth

Your birth

Having your baby at home

We have a dedicated team to support women interested in birthing their baby at home. If you are having a natural and healthy pregnancy and want to have your baby in a place that’s safe, comfortable and convenient, homebirth may be a great option for you.

A named midwife will care for you throughout your pregnancy, during your birth and labour in your own home. You will get to know your midwife really well, and you’ll also meet the three other members of the team during your pregnancy. Your midwife will schedule your appointments at times to suit you and the only time you’ll routinely need to go to the hospital is for your scans.

Contact the team 

To meet the homebirth midwives, other families planning to birth at home and those that have recently done so visit our Instagram page to find out about our monthly meetings. These are held virtually on the first Friday of every month.

You can email us or contact us via the Barkantine Birth Centre on 0207 791 8000. We also have a self-referral form which you can send to us via email or give to your community midwife. 

Frequently asked questions 

Isn’t it safer to give birth in a hospital?

Actually no, evidence from the Birthplace Study shows that for women having their second or subsequent baby, home is the safest place for women and babies. It is associated with lower rates of intervention like episiotomy (a small cut to the perineum at the time of birth) and instrumental birth. For first time mothers there is a slightly higher risk of serious injury to the baby. This risk is still very small, at 9 per 1000 babies.

What happens if there is an emergency?

Few emergencies in childbirth are immediately life threatening. Your midwife is trained to respond to these. If we agree the safest thing is to transfer you to hospital, we will call an ambulance

What about the mess?

Despite what you’ve seen on TV, there’s really not much mess. We’ll help you prepare your birth space to avoid any accidents on sofas or carpets and of course we’ll clean up before we leave.

What if I can’t cope with the pain?

No problem, we have plenty of strategies. Lots of women like to use a pool and we can lend one to you. We also carry gas and air (Entonox) and support alternative therapies. If you need an epidural in labour then we will arrange this for you at the hospital.

What if I just change my mind when labour starts?

Nothing is set in stone, when you go into labour we’ll come and visit you at home to see how you’re doing. At this stage you can decide whether to stay put or head into the birth centre or hospital.

What if I’m already half way through my pregnancy?

That’s fine, you can come to us at any time. Women who start their care with us early on probably get the greatest benefit as we have more time together. You can contact us whenever you want.

What if I have a medical problem or previous difficult birth?

You are not alone in this as very few women have no medical history or ‘problems’. Get in touch so we can talk about this and make a plan that is both safe and  meets your needs.

Lotus Birth Centre

The Lotus Birth Centre is a midwifery-led unit within the obstetric unit at The Royal London Hospital and is suitable for women with low-risk pregnancies.  

Midwife-led units provide more individual and tailored care to women with less intervention, however our skilled obstetricians and anaesthetists are not far away if a birth progresses into high risk.

The centre contains four birthing rooms named by local women; Cinnamon, Camomile, Juniper and Saffron. Every birthing room has an en-suite with a double bed and flat screen TV, plus a sofa for any visiting family or friends. 

"I am proud that the centre has developed from what local women told us they wanted. We are providing women with the safe, compassionate care with the relaxed birthing experience they asked for and right on their doorstep where they wanted it."

Lisa Greene, centre manager 

The centre also has other facilities:

  • The Bumblebee Lounge for women attending for postnatal and antenatal care
  • A triage area for antenatal and postnatal care and women who attend The Royal London in the early stages of labour so they can go home again after being seen
  • A milk storage room and a beverage room so parents can help themselves to drinks and store food from home

Our specialist midwives are fully trained in supporting women to give birth naturally using water, birthing positions and breathing techniques to control their labour, with gas and air to keep women as comfortable as possible.

Contact the team

The Lotus Birth Centre, Ward 8B, The Royal London Hospital 

Tel: 0203 594 2367/2563

Obstetric unit at The Royal London Hospital

The Royal London Hospital maternity unit provides state of the art facilities and high-quality care for women who choose to give birth here. Our obstetric unit is the recommended place of birth for women with complicated pregnancies or those who go into labour before 37 weeks. The unit is also available for women who would like a natural birth experience with medical expertise close by.

What we offer you

  • High quality obstetric-led and midwifery care during your labour and birth, in a modern, welcoming environment
  • Access to experienced staff and clinicians
  • Excellent facilities including birthing rooms with pools, birth balls, bean bags and birth stools. 
  • 24 hour access to a range of pain relief in labour including epidural
  • A high dependency unit for mothers who develop complications around the time of birth and who require close monitoring
  • A Level 3 neonatal unit for babies born prematurely or needing additional support after birth
  • Support and care after your baby is born, until you are discharged from hospital or to the postnatal ward

Why choose us?

The obstetric unit teams are highly skilled and can deal with any event during labour and birth, including births that may require some medical assistance.

Should you require support from our obstetricians, anaesthetists or neonatologists during labour or birth, you will not need to be transferred to another ward as our staff are available on delivery unit 24 hours a day.

Contact the team

  • Location: 6th Floor (Wards 6E and 6F) via core lift 9
  • Tel: 020 3594 2364 / 0203 594 2365  
  • Follow us Twitter: @RLHmaternity

Clinics to help with your birthing options

Birth options clinic

You can have in-depth discussion about your birth choices with a consultant midwife over the phone or in person. It may be that you have had a difficult previous delivery and therefore want to plan for a birth that is more comfortable. Here you can discuss all birthing options and concerns and we will create a birth plan with you. 

Pre-term birth clinic

This is a clinic run by a consultant obstetrician for women who have a history of delivering their babies early or prematurely. You may require an ultrasound scan to measure the length of the cervix (neck of the womb) to make sure that the cervix is long. If the cervix is short who will be offered further management to reduce the chance of you going into early labour.

An individualised plan of care will be made and midwives and obstetricians are assigned to monitor each pregnancy.

Vaginal birth after caesarean ( VBAC) clinic

This is a clinic for women who have had at least one previous caesarean section. The reasons for the previous caesarean section(s) will be reviewed and discussed with each woman, together with the birth options for the current pregnancy which can be a trial of vaginal delivery or a caesarean section. The clinic is a place for discussion about how best to avoid complications and have good health outcomes, both short and long term for mother and baby.

Breech (ECV) clinic 

This clinic is for mothers whose babies are in breech at their 36 week rountine scan. Upon referral a consultant obstetrician and consultant midwife will discuss your options with you.

Extra support for you

Pregnancy can be a vulnerable time and we recognise that there are some women who may require additional support because of this. This could be due to a number of reasons, for example, being a young mother to be, mental health difficulties, domestic abuse or other social circumstances. We have a team of specialist midwives who are able to provide enhanced maternity care and support.

We encourage you to let your midwife know if you feel that you would benefit from this type of care. You will then receive the right support at the right time.