Coronavirus: Fears over COVID-19 causes spike in demand for home births

Coronavirus concerns have prompted a jump in demand for home births.

Christchurch mum Grace Sheat is 38-weeks pregnant and says giving birth in lockdown is daunting.

"I think it's changed things a bit about how I'm feeling," she said. "I feel a bit more apprehensive about having to go into the hospital and there's just a lot more uncertainty."

She's unsure how much her partner will be allowed to be at the hospital for the birth and says her son won't meet the baby till she's home.

The New Zealand College of Midwives says COVID-19 has caused a spike in requests for home births.

"A number of women are choosing and planning to try and reduce their chances of cross-infection, to keep to their bubble and to ensure that they can have the people around them that they want for support," said the College of Midwives' Jacqui Anderson.

Midwife Violet Clapham said it's not only in New Zealand.

"That is a phenomenon that has been noticed all around the world with the outbreak of COVID-19," she said. 

"We've seen an increase in the home birth rate, which is actually a great option for healthy, well mothers and babies."

So what are people's birthing options during lockdown?

For those who have no COVID-19 risk factors and are well, there's no change and you can birth at home, in a primary birthing unit, or hospital.

For people in self-isolation for COVID-19 risk factors but are well - hospital or possibly home birth is available.

Hospital birth is the only option for people who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating and have symptoms.

Auckland's Birthcare is reassuring mums-to-be it's largely business as usual for them.

"We haven't changed our environment, what we have done is we are limiting one visitor per woman," said Angela Wilson of Auckland Birthcare.