About your visit

What to expect from a visit to the Home from Home birth centre

When you think you are in labour you should contact your named midwife or you can phone the Home from Home birth centre directly using the telephone numbers on this page. You will be given advice on when to come into hospital.

Please call before you come in so that the midwives are expecting you.

On arrival

Maternity birth centreTake the lift to the 7th floor of the North Wing at St Thomas’ and show your maternity notes to the Home from Home birth centre receptionist. When you first arrive, you will be assessed to check that all is well with you and your baby and to see how far you have progressed in labour.

If you arrive overnight (7pm-8am), you can still be admitted to the midwife-led unit by going to the Hospital Birth Centre reception, where you will be assessed as soon as possible. Your plans for birth will be discussed and a midwife will look after you.

Your room

Unless you are coming in for a planned induction of labour because your baby is overdue (but you and the baby are otherwise well), you will be admitted to the Home from Home Birth Centre when you are in established labour, which means that you are having regular contractions every two to three minutes and your cervix is dilating, usually 4cm or more.

If you are not yet in established labour when you arrive for care, the midwife will discuss ongoing care options with you, and if you agree you may be advised to return home for a while longer. If you are in established labour, you will be allocated a single room and a midwife will provide one-to-one care. 

Each room has: 

  • En suite bath/shower and toilet facilities
  • A sofa-bed for use during labour and for partners to stay overnight
  • Birth balls, birth mats, bean bags, birth ropes and wall bars for use during labour
  • Birthing stools are also available if required.

You are welcome to adapt the birthing room to suit your individual needs. For example, you may wish to have low lighting in the room and/or play music from your own device. Many women choose to use relaxation and/or self-hypnosis techniques during labour and we will do our best to facilitate a calm, private and quiet environment.

Other facilities

There are two separate pool rooms for hydrotherapy (pain relief) and water births.

Read more about your options for pain relief and about coping with labour.

Meals

Maternity food

It is important to be well nourished and well hydrated during labour. Snacks and sandwiches are available for women on request, or you can bring in your favourite snacks and drinks. There is also a hot meal service available.

If your labour is affected by complications, your midwife will tell you if you should refrain from eating, and will explain the reasons for this. Hot drinks are available for free at all times from the tea trolley, which is in the kitchenette. After the birth, we ask other visitors to use the facilities in the main hospital lobby on the ground floor.

Labour and birth supporters

We are happy to welcome one or two named birthing partners into the birth room to support you during labour and birth. If you feel you would prefer additional support (including your own doula) we will do our best to facilitate this.

Occasionally, such as in an emergency, it may become necessary to ask the additional supporter(s) to wait outside the labour and birth room. Following the birth, it is usually up to you to decide how many visitors you receive as you would do at home. To reduce the risk of infection, we do not allow children under the age of 16 in the birth centres unless they are your own children.

For more information, see our visiting hours page.

How long will I stay? 

If you give birth during the day, and if you and the baby are both well and are confident with feeding, your midwife will arrange for you to go home after six hours, and arrange follow up by community midwife or other postnatal services. 

If you give birth overnight, it’s usually better to wait and go home the following day. Your partner can stay on the Home from Home birth centre.

If you need to stay for more than 24 hours we will discuss transfer to the postnatal ward with you.

Newborn physical examination and hearing screening

We offer every baby a full physical examination by an appropriately trained midwife or neonatal doctor before you go home, or can arrange for this examination to be done later.

We also offer a hearing screening, subject to availability. If there are no hearing screeners available on the day, we will offer you an outpatient appointment.

 

Useful contacts

Home from Home reception:

  • 020 7188 2964 (8am-7pm Monday-Friday, 9-4pm weekends)

Home from Home staff desk:

  • 020 7188 2966

Hospital Birth Centre reception (and overnight reception for Home from Home Birth Centre):

  • 020 7188 2973

Main hospital switchboard:

  • 020 7188 7188

Further information