A HOMEBIRTH team based in west Dorset is celebrating seven years of success and delivering babies – which included reuniting with the families they had supported to an afternoon tea.

The Cygnet Homebirth Team at Dorset County Hospital launched in June 2015 and has gone from strength to strength, seeing homebirths in the county rise dramatically from 2.3 per cent of the total births to a consistent 8-10 per cent and becoming one of the highest homebirth rates in the country.

Over its seven years, the team has grown from five to eight midwives and a senior support worker who is able to support families and give expert feeding advice.

Furthermore, in 2019, the team received national recognition when they won the Royal College of Midwives Homebirth Team of the Year.

Senior Midwife and Cygnet Homebirth Team Lead Tara Pointer-Putt said: “Dorset County Hospital always supported homebirths, but we wanted to create a team solely dedicated to providing continuity of care for women choosing to give birth at home. Over the years we have built up a caseload and now care for 10% of the births in the west of Dorset.

“Homebirth is a safe option for birth, especially if you have a low-risk, straightforward pregnancy. In fact, for a second or subsequent baby, having them at home is no less safe than in hospital.

“Being at home reduces your risk of infection and risks associated with interventions like forceps and women feel calm and relaxed, and often their other children are involved with the labour and birth. Partners also often feel more relaxed and enjoy being within their home comforts.”

To celebrate their seven years of successes, the team returned to where they first launched, Abbotsbury Swannery, where they invited families they had supported over the years to join them for an afternoon tea in the sunshine.

Ms Pointer-Putt added: “I am so very proud of the gold standard model of care that we offer women within the west of Dorset and it’s a privilege to lead such a dedicated, hardworking homebirth team.”

Anyone who is looking for more information can contact the team on 01305 253169 or email homebirth@dchft.nhs.uk