bristol • north somerset • south gloucestershire

Options side by side

When planning where to give birth, you can discuss your wishes and individual circumstances with your midwife or doctor at any time. Towards the end of your pregnancy (usually around 36 weeks) you will review your planned place of birth together. You should be supported whichever place of birth you choose.

The table below shows what is and is not available at different locations (scroll down for clarification of who would generally be considered to be at low risk of complications, and when electronic fetal monitoring might be recommended. If the table below is difficult to read, you can view a PDF version of the table and its links here.


*) You are generally considered at low risk of complications if

- you are healthy, without existing medical conditions **
- you had no problems in this pregnancy **
- you had no problems in previous pregnancies which could recur or could impact on this labour **
- you are expecting a single baby
- your baby is head down
- you are between 37 and 42 weeks pregnant when labour starts
- labour is starting by itself 

**) For reasons where birth in consultant-led unit is advisable, or which need individual assessment, see the NICE Intrapartum Guidelines (scroll down to tables 6 to 9). 

**) Electronic fetal monitoring is not recommended if you are at low risk of complications and labour is progressing normally; in this case the midwife will listen to the baby’s heart intermittently with a Pinard stethoscope or handheld Doppler device.
Reasons to recommend electronic fetal monitoring (see also the NICE Intrapartum Guidelines) include:

- a (possible) abnormality heard during intermittent monitoring with a Pinard or handheld Doppler
- thick meconium (the baby’s first poo) in your waters (amniotic fluid)
- if you develop  a fever or high blood pressure or are otherwise unwell
- if your contractions are being stimulated with a hormone drip (oxytocin)
- if you had a previous caesarean section
- if you have certain medical conditions, for example diabetes
- if you have certain pregnancy conditions, for example obstetric cholestasis
- if you are having an epidural
- if you have vaginal bleeding (not a show)
- if your are in labour before 37 weeks or after 42 weeks
- if your baby is known to be small
- if your waters have been broken for more than 24 hours