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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Where to give birth

Woman leaning on the back of a couch for support during a contractionThere are several options for where to give birth in Canterbury. You should talk to your midwife or LMC about these options and they will be able to help you decide where the right place is for you.

Pregnancy and birth are normal processes for most women. If you have no complications, health professionals will encourage you to give birth at home or at a primary birthing unit.

At home

Planning to give birth at home is a safe option for many women when their pregnancy has been uncomplicated. Many women feel more relaxed in a home environment.

By choosing to give birth at home, you're more likely to have a normal birth and less likely to need interventions. Some women who plan to give birth at home are transferred to hospital during labour if they need medical help. Midwives who provide home birth care are experienced in supporting safe transfer at the right time if this is needed.

If you're keen to explore this option, make sure you choose a midwife who provides the option of home birth and will be able to give you the information you need to make the right decision. For more information about home birth, have a look at the following websites:

Home Birth Aotearoa

Home Birth Canterbury

At a primary birthing unit

This is a dedicated birthing unit providing inpatient birthing and postnatal services. Experienced midwives staff these units.

Primary birthing units are intended for women and their babies who have no complications and go into labour at term. By choosing to start your labour and give birth at a primary unit, you're more likely to have a normal birth and less likely to need interventions. Starting your labour in one of these units also means that Christchurch Women’s Hospital can focus on the women and babies who are unwell.

The Canterbury DHB provides information about the services provided by the different maternity facilities in Canterbury. For more information about each facility, speak to your midwife or LMC.

At a secondary/tertiary birthing facility

Christchurch Women's Hospital is a tertiary maternity facility that provides maternity care to women and their babies who have complex pregnancies and need help from a multidisciplinary specialist team.

This may be because of issues that have been identified during pregnancy or because they have been transferred from home or from a primary maternity unit.

The help from the multidisciplinary specialist team will be organised by your midwife or LMC, and Christchurch Women's Hospital.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed February 2022.

Page reference: 67950

Review key: HIGIB-113323