MORE than 4,000 women give birth in Hillingdon every year but only a fraction choose to have their babies at home.

The Halcyon Home Birth Team at Hillingdon Hospital is now giving more mums the option of giving birth outside hospital.

Team leader Suzanna Gribble is one of four midwives providing the round-the-clock service.

Suzanna said: “Many women feel giving birth at home is more comfortable and relaxing and it is safe option for healthy women.

“On the rare occasion a complication does arise, we simply call an ambulance and have the mother and baby transferred to hospital.

“We bring all the necessary equipment to the home and can usually be with someone within 30 minutes if needed.”

One keen advocate is Denise Smith, of Crest Gardens, Ruislip, who recently had her fifth child at home.

Denise, 33, said: “My first birth at Hillingdon Hospital was fine but my second was more difficult. I just decided that, by being at home, I would be more comfortable and in control.

“It seemed like the natural thing to do and has worked out pretty well.

"The children come into the room within an hour to look at the new baby and my husband, Darren, is on hand to make the tea and help out during the labour.”

Suzanna and her colleagues have met all the mums-to-be on their books, so a familiar face is always available.

The team has set itself a target of 80 deliveries a year, reflecting the Government’s drive to encourage more home births.