Deciding where to give birth

birth centre home birth midwife led unit mlu place of birth pregnancy vegan Aug 22, 2021

Many parents know where they are going to give birth from the day they get a positive pregnancy test.

They don't even think about it.

The local hospital is where they themselves were born. That's just where they  go.

I meet parents every day who do not know this seemingly obvious choice will have an impact on how the baby will be born. Right down to how likely they will be to have a caesarean section or even a blood transfusion.

Choosing the place that is most appropriate for you helps you have a better, safer birth. 

And guess what - hospital does not always equal safest!

Some people don't know that they can choose between home, a midwife led unit (MLU) or an obstetric hospital. 

If you and your baby have been fit and healthy throughout your pregnancy, giving birth in your own home or a an MLU is statistically safer for you than an obstetric hospital. Your baby is just as safe and more likely to breastfeed without any hick-ups.

Here are some of the findings of the Birthplace UK study (2011) which evaluated 64000 births:

As a first time parent, your chances of having a physiological birth where highest in an MLU (818 per 1000 births vs 688 per 1000 births in an obstetric hospital). Your chances of needing a blood transfusion were halved (8/1000 in the MLU compared to 16/1000). 

When you have had a baby before your chances of a physiological birth are 980/1000 compared to 927/1000.

Those finding have recently been replicated in an even bigger study of half a million people published in the Lancet. Most importantly the evidence says that babies are safe at home and in MLUs.

I have referenced the links to all the studies discussed here down at the bottom of this page to give you the full picture. 

Are you surprised?

Of course your own circumstances might bring up some questions about wether this applies to you. Maybe your local MLU is relatively far from an obstetric hospital. In that case you will want to have a conversation about what a transfer would look like should you need it. The same goes for home birth. 

Best wishes for your pregnancy and birth.

The Pregnant Vegan Team xx

p.s. We discuss place of birth in our signature program The Ultimate Vegan Pregnancy. 


The Lancet Study 

Birthplace UK 


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