19 June 2020

Announcement about home births in East Sussex

We are pleased to announce that we are re-instating our home birth service from Monday 22nd June, following its suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Initially, the home birth service will only be available for those women who had already booked to give birth at home. If you had previously booked to give birth at home, your midwife will need to complete a ‘Covid-19 Home Birth Risk Assessment’ with you before agreeing your home birth. Your health and safety, and that of your family and our members of staff is our main priority. Home births will only be provided if your home is assessed to be a safe environment for midwives to provide care.

Your midwife will also provide you with written information containing instructions to ensure risk is kept to a minimum. We respectfully ask you to ensure you comply with these requests to allow us to keep you and our members of staff safe. Our midwives have the right to decline a home birth if the home environment is unsuitable, if they suspect that anyone within the home might be suffering from Covid-19, or if the requests made to reduce risks are not complied with.

At the moment we are unable to offer home births to women who had not previously booked one, because we are still experiencing some staffing shortages – although we hope to be able to provide this service again soon. If you had not previously booked a home birth and would now like one, please let your community midwife know. Your midwife will discuss this with you as soon as possible.

Our services at Eastbourne Midwifery Unit (EMU) remain temporarily suspended. We are working very hard to re-establish this service and will provide you with updated information as some as possible.

For those who are unable to have a home birth or an EMU birth, we are fortunate to have a completely separate entrance to our maternity unit at Conquest Hospital, which means women don’t need to walk through the main hospital to reach the unit. We have set up extra midwife-led facilities both on and away from our delivery suite, and have received very positive feedback about their care from mothers who had to change their birth plans. Whenever possible our home birth and EMU midwives have cared for women who were previously planning births in these settings.

We are delighted that we can again provide care for women giving birth at home and thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.