Birth Preferences, Oxytocin and Home Births

On the 16th of December 2020 my self Katie, Cheshire’s private midwife, Dilys founder of calm-birth and Claire the home birth midwife in Macclesfield had a chat via zoom for the next Macclesfield Positive Birth Group meeting.

It was an interesting chat and even though in not pregnant I want a homebirth now!

Katie reminded us that oxytocin is the vital hormone or labour. It’s known as the love hormone and its needed to birth babies as is an optimum birth environment. You in pregnancy can prepare your body and mind and the environment that you would like to birth in, while you are still pregnant, preparation is key.

Katie teaches hypnobirthing alongside her midwifery as she is passionate about how well it works for women in labour. Hypnobirthing is all about you keeping calm which reduces adrenaline, adrenaline suppresses labour, slows it down and can stop it.  We want to make sure oxytocin is high and keep adrenaline low. So how do we do this?

We find what helps you relax.

  • Listening to relaxation audios in pregnancy
  • feel excited for birth
  • massage from your partner
  • a warm bath, this may lead to a water birth if you love being in the bath
  • low lighting
  • aromatherapy oils or other smells
  • watching a film or your favourite tv show

You need to spend some time finding our what helps you, then you can take those things or ideas with you into your birth environment.

Writing down your birth plan (plans don’t always go the way we want them to and we can give ourselves a hard time when they don’t) birth preferences and talk to your midwife about them, she will support you and together you can work out what’s possible for your birth.  Talk to your midwife about these things in your next appointment. There should be a birth plan template in your maternity care plan or write it out and put it inside the front cover for your care plan so it’s easy for the midwives to see and read.

Also talk to your partner and write it together then they can advocate for you when you’re in labour.

You can take some of the objects and comforts from home with you to the birth centre or hospital but if you are at home you can have all f these things to hand and this can make you feel more comfortable and relaxed.

All amazing advice from Katie.

We then moved on to Dilys-, the founder of Calm-Birth. Dilys was a midwife for 25 years, now retired but continues to be passionate about supporting women in birth she uses a holistic approach with Aromatherapy oils and reflexology.

She agrees with Katie that birth doesn’t always go to plan and women need to be prepared for that. It’s about getting through labour and maybe even enjoying it!

Aromatherapy for pregnancy and labour is particularly useful. Using the specific therapeutic qualities of pure essential oils in various combinations, it can be used to treat different ailments and symptoms. Particularly useful for the treatment of pregnancy symptoms such as:

– tiredness
– constipation
– stress
– anxiety

She mixes oils to suit you and what you need. Then she encourages you to smell the oils at bedtime, or when you are relaxing then you can use the oils when you’re in labour on a flannel, your pillow or an oil burner.

She is very happy to have a chat over the phone about what you’re experiencing and what you need then post or drop off your oil mix.

She also offers reflexology, not currently due to COVID, where she uses your oil mix and reflexology together for amazing results.

Reflexology is a non-invasive, complementary therapy which aims to promote healthy wellbeing and restore the body balance. Reflexology has developed from the ancient belief that there are different reflex points on the feet and hands which correspond to different parts of the body.

Used during pregnancy, it has numerous beneficial effects. It can be used throughout pregnancy, labour and postnatally and is adapted to reflect the specific stage of pregnancy.


Claire a midwife from Macclesfield homebirth service is very excited that Macclesfield has recently received new homebirth equipment.

She tells me that when midwives first mention homebirth most women’s initial reaction is no, but once you read more into it and understand that oxytocin and how it works, women do change their minds.


If you are having a low-risk pregnancy homebirths are safe for you and baby, and lead to fewer interventions in birth.


You need to talk to your midwife about your pregnancy and at 34-36 weeks you will have a birth plan discussion at home, they will come to you and also drop off a box at this time. They will talk you through the reasons to why you might have to go to hospital and if you are comfortable to go ahead from your 37th-week midwives will be on call for you.


When you go into labour, you call the labour ward, and they send out two midwives to you at home. There will be two as they are supporting you and each other. They are very happy to go with your birth preferences and let you lead the way.


The homebirth box that they drop off beforehand has practical things in it.

Such as-

Disposable pads

Gel for listening in to baby

PPE for the midwives such as gloves, masks and aprons

Labour notes and postnatal notes

The red book for baby


The homebirth bag, has emergence equipment, such as-

Needles, cannulas and syringes

2X canisters of gas and air

Full resuscitation equipment


3 vials of drugs will also be given to you before birth to put in your fridge.

One is the injection to help you deliver the placenta

The second is a dose to reduce for excess bleeding

And the third is the vitamin K injection for baby

If you would like a homebirth and want to hire a pool, Greater Manchester Doulas are hiring them out.  They are still running there pool hire and support service.

Here is the link to all the information on how our service works and the FAQ’s;
And if anybody wants to book a pool with them, here is the booking form;

You hire the pool, it gets delivered to you with instruction to how to set it up. Attach it to the kitchen tap, so downstairs may be easiest. It gets filled by the tap and emptied into the sink or an outside drain. The midwives are very happy to help with the cleanup and emptying of the pool afterwards so you can stay snuggled up in bed with your new baby.


You can use a bath if you have a big one that the midwives can easily get access to you to check on you. It also has to be deep enough for baby to be fully submerged into the water when born.


The midwives will be as hands-off as possible, they blend into the background or are happy to sit in another room but they are there if you need them. They will check on baby by listening to the heard beat every 15minutes when in established labour and they check on mum every 30 minutes, but they do try and slip in and out again without disruption.


Emergencies are infrequent with homebirths, and women mostly transfer to hospital due to mum wanting more pain relief. Midwives have regular training to keep up to date to how to use all emergency equipment and can call an ambulance for you if you need to transfer to hospital.


If you are worried about your neighbours hearing you when you are in labour the advice is to talk to them beforehand and don’t let that stop you having a home birth. 


You may be asked if a student midwife can be at your birth and the midwife will encourage you to think about this. Student midwives are out future midwives and the more experience and learning they get the better. They are also an extra pair of hands for you to get what you need and support you and to help with the clearing up.


You can always change your mind a few days before or on the day when you’re in labour that’s your choice. If you have to be transferred into hospital when in labour you will go to your nearest one which may not be your chosen hospital.


If you are interested in having a home birth please talk to your midwife and join .

Midwives are there to empower women. Baby knows best to how they want to be delivered.

Here is the recording to the zoom link if you want to listen…/pq29GBBEx6RF1…


Dilys can be contacted at


Katies at


Claire at


And me, Saffron at


As always we are all here for and please get in touch if you have any questions or need anything from us, we are here for you.


These meetings are once a meet, the last Wednesday of the month at 6pm via Zoom. Please email Saffron or have a look at the Macclesfield Positive Birth Group Facebook page.