Good or bad, a mum’s birth experience is something that stays with her for life.
And after welcoming the latest addition to her family through one of the recently-launched maternity services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, a West Norfolk woman is reassuring other pregnant mums about the benefits of giving birth at home.
Downham couple Louisa and Matthew Riches celebrated the birth of Poppy on April 21.
Speaking about her experience of home birth, Mrs Riches said: “It was the best thing I’ve ever done and I would highly recommend it to other mums-to-be.
“Beforehand I thought, like many others, that home births are old-fashioned or for people who couldn’t make it to hospital in time, but that is so not true.
“The whole experience was fantastic. I’ve got a few other friends who are pregnant and I’ve been telling them to think about doing the same as me.”
Mrs Riches, who gave birth to her first daughter, Elexa, at the QEH back in June 2014, said she wouldn’t think twice about having another home birth again in the future.
“It was so much more relaxed than being in the hospital and just so much quieter,” admitted Mrs Riches.
“Twenty minutes before Poppy was delivered we were having tea and biscuits. The whole process was a breeze which I don’t think too many people can say that about giving birth.”
The Lynn hospital launched its midwife-led pathway, which includes the home birth service and midwife-led Waterlily Birth Centre, last month to provide more choice for expectant mothers.
The service was suspended in September 2013 due to an inability to sustain the service due to staffing challenges.
Mrs Riches praised the support of midwives Marianne Musumeci and Rosie Hucklesby throughout her pregnancy.
“I am so so grateful for the treatment and how fantastic the two midwives were who looked after me.
“Poppy was constantly monitored throughout my labour, as was I, and they brought pain relief.
“They were fantastic and caring and very professional. All my questions were answered and all my concerns were reassured.
“Marianne looked after me from when I found out I was pregnant and remained with me until Poppy was born.
“I couldn’t have been more cared for in a hospital and this is a prime example of what the NHS should be about. I just wanted to share my positive experience with other mums-to-be.”