Information for the public
What if I need to be transferred to an obstetric unit during labour?
If you choose to give birth at home or in a midwife-led unit, your midwife should tell you in advance about reasons why you might need to be transferred to an obstetric unit, the chances of this happening and how long it would take.
If it looks like you may need to go to an obstetric unit during labour, or to hospital after the birth, your midwife should explain the reasons for this to you and your birth companion(s). They should describe your options, answer any questions you have, take your wishes into account and get your consent. You will be advised to go to an obstetric unit if there are certain complications during labour (as described in the next sections), and you will need to do so if you decide that you would like an epidural.
If you are transferred to a hospital from another location, you should be told about the arrangements for this. You should be made as comfortable as possible, and be able to get dressed or be wrapped in a blanket. A midwife who has been looking after you should come with you, and tell the ambulance and hospital staff what has happened so far. Your birth companion should also be able to come in the ambulance with you if that is what you want.
If you are transferred after the birth, your baby should come with you (although this may be in a separate ambulance).
Questions about being transferred to an obstetric unit