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Birth choices

Where can I choose to give birth?

The place where you give birth is your choice and depends on your preferences, if there are any complications with your pregnancy and, in some cases, where you live. You can discuss your birth place options at any time during your pregnancy.

With King’s, you can give birth:

  • at our Nightingale Birth Centre, where options are our midwifery-led suite, doctor-led labour ward, and obstetric (maternity) theatres for planned and emergency caesarean births
  • at home

Midwifery-led suite, Nightingale Birth Centre

Our two midwife-led birthing rooms support birthing women and people who have had uncomplicated pregnancies to give birth in a comfortable environment where they can feel at home. Each room is designed to adapt to your personal requirements, giving you the control and support you need during labour and birth, including large spacious rooms, ensuite bathrooms, birthing pools, and calm lighting.  

If you plan to give birth in a midwifery-led suite there is a lower chance of having an intervention during the birth, such as forceps or ventouse. However, if there are any problems during your labour, or you would like an epidural (which cannot be given on a midwife-led suite), you will be transferred to the labour ward, which is just seconds away. 

Labour ward, Nightingale Birth Centre

The Nightingale Birth Centre is particularly suitable if you will need closer monitoring during labour. It is also suitable if you would like access to epidural pain relief. You will be cared for by midwives and obstetric doctors.

The ward has ten private birthing rooms with ensuites and facilities for enabling active birth, including mats, dim lighting, and birthing balls.

One room on the labour ward has a birthing pool. This is suitable if your labour will require extra monitoring and you also wish to also use water. Telemetry machines provide wireless and waterproof monitoring to record your baby’s heart rate continuously if required, to help you to maintain mobility in labour while keeping your baby safe.

Our facilities also include two obstetric theatres for planned and emergency caesarean births, a three-bedded theatre recovery area, and a two-bedded high dependency area if you need additional monitoring or care after labour.

You will be cared for by a midwife at all times during your stay, including a private room with a midwife caring only for you during labour. Our services are provided by a team of midwives (including students), doctors, anaesthetists and maternity support workers 24 hours a day.

If your baby needs extra support after the birth, they will be transferred to the Neonatal Unit. This is next to Nightingale Birth Centre.

Home birth

Giving birth at home is a safe option if you have had an uncomplicated pregnancy and, in particular, if you have previously had a straightforward vaginal birth and you do not have any medical complexities.

Some advantages of giving birth at home include:

  • giving birth in familiar surroundings where you may feel more relaxed and in control
  • you don’t have to travel once your labour has started in order to get to hospital
  • if you already have children it may be easier to arrange looking after them
  • home birth has been shown to reduce the likelihood of interventions in healthy pregnancies and increase the chance of an uncomplicated vaginal birth

If a concern is detected during your home birth that means you will need extra support, you will be transferred to hospital by ambulance.

If this is your first birth and your pregnancy is straightforward, we recommend you read the Your choice where to have your baby leaflet