Eight out of 10 women admit they hope to emulate hit show Call the Midwife by having a home birth, yet only 2.2% of those actually manage it.
A whopping 79% of expectant mums quizzed in the study by medical negligence experts Hodge Jones & Allen admit preferring to give birth at home.
First-time mums were even more likely to favour shunning hospital for a home birth, with 84% admitting a preference.
Home comforts, control over a birth plan and friends and family support as shown in the heart-warming Sunday night BBC drama Call the Midwife were key factors in considering a home birth.
Two-fifths (40%) of expectant mothers expressed the ability to walk around during labour as a key factor, while more than a third (35%) stated that the increased privacy was a main consideration.
A third of expectant mums (30%) stated the choice of birth decisions including labour positions was important.
While one in five (20%) didn’t want to be separated from their partner and saw a home birth as an opportunity to increase the bonding time with their newborn baby.
The findings highlighted that expectant mums saw plenty of benefits with a home birth, but also had concerns about giving birth in an NHS establishment such as a hospital or midwifery centre.
More than two-thirds of women (69%) have concerns that would make them want to avoid giving birth in an NHS hospital or midwifery centre.
Three-quarters of expectant mothers in Northern Ireland would prefer to avoid giving birth at an NHS hospital or midwifery centre compared to the lowest figure of 60% of expectant mothers in South West England.
Reasons for this include the worry of picking up hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA (27%) or the risk of third-degree or fourth-degree vaginal or perineal tears (23%).
While one in five (20%) of expectant mums were concerned about lack of privacy and medical staff rotating during birth.
Although home births are favoured among the majority of expectant mothers, they admitted they still had concerns over giving birth at home, especially when it came to birth problems.
More than half of those expecting (60%) had worries that if something goes seriously wrong, a home birth could be detrimental for their baby.
A third of respondents (37%) also worried about ambulance delays if there was an issue.
Medical Negligence Partner at Hodge Jones & Allen, James Bell, said: “Our research reveals that a large number of expectant mums would prefer to give birth at home instead of at an NHS hospital or midwifery centre.
“Giving birth at home appears to provide home comforts and more control over the birth plan.
“The majority of mums would rather avoid giving birth at NHS establishments due to lack of privacy or picking up a hospital-related infection.
“Although many are in favour of home births, and they are increasing across the UK, still only a small number of them take place.
“Deciding on where to give birth is a difficult choice and varies from each expectant mum who will have their own worries.
“Giving birth is not always straightforward and plans may need to change to achieve a safe birth.”
For more information visit: https://www.hja.net/expert-comments/blog/medical-negligence/why-are-more-uk-mothers-choosing-home-births/