Too much weight gain in pregnancy prohibiting home birth?

So today I finally had my booking in appointment. I mentioned about wanting a home birth and the midwife said that I'd need to keep my BMI below 35, it's currently 30. I just looked it up & I can only put on 1 stone to keep it under 35. Doesn't sound realistic to me. Can anyone tell me how much you gained during pregnancy & if you've been refused a home birth on these grounds.



  • hiya,

    i think its normal practise to have to have a BMI under 35 for home birth, it would also prevent a water birth in hospital.

    its to do with health and safety and risk assesment.

    if anything happeend during birth and you fell unconcscious the staff would be unable to lift you out of the pool etc,

    it is possible to not gain any weight in pregnancy and if so only a very small amount, i believe OB managed it !

  • Thanks Moonie, in my last pregnancy I wasn't weighed again after my booking in appointment but was still able to have a waterbirth (well nearly as I had to get out of the water at the last minute to actually give birth) & I know I started off heavier last time. Will definitely be on the look out for tips to limit weight gain, although at the moment I'm eating whatever I actually can to help combat nausea!

  • you can ask i believe to be seen by a dietician at regular intervals throughout the pregnancy if you are concerned.

  • Really, I didn't know this. Thanks for letting me know, I'll ask the mw when I see her at 16 weeks unless I drastically increase before then!!

  • This has just worried me somewhat, I started out with a bmi only a teeny bit overweight 25.6, but I've gained loads of weight since - over 3 stone at 30 weeks, and am likely to go over a bmi of 35 now unless I gain nothing at all for the next 10 weeks, but I really want a water birth! Hopefully the midwife won't weigh me again...

  • SG as far as im aware they only really focus on your booking in weight, so if it was way below the cut off like yours it shouldnt be an issue i dont think.

  • Thanks Monnie, fingers crossed. I really do need to get a grip though, maybe this will poke me into being a bit more sensible.

  • My current BMI has never been discussed. I've never been weighed. My BMI was 29.6 (listed as 30) at booking in, though I was heavier from several weeks of pastry and bread eating due to nausea!

    I'm still booked for a homebirth. My current BMI (just checked it) is 35.

  • Never heard of this before - and I had a home birth with E.  BMI is an entirely pointless measure to use on a pregnant woman, especially one at full term.  I was asked my weight on booking in and was never asked/weighed again.  My BMI would have been about 27 when I fell pregnant, but given that I ballooned while pregnant and put on 4 stone - there is NO WAY my BMI would have been under the limit the day I gave birth.  They are merely trying to assess risk, and I guess that BMI on booking in is one way of doing it.  I am sure you will be fine.

  • The thing is, they can't 'allow' or 'prohibit' a home birth, they can simply advise. Don't feel frightened to challenge those 'rules'. And if you join the FB groups on homebirth (which I have) they will give you LOADS of info on why the 'rules' are not necessarily the best outcome for mum and baby. I just had HB approval 'removed' by a consultant today, but he was very open and told me he could sit and tell me for hours that he doesn't want me to HB and why, but the decision has to be mine and they WILL facilitate a homebirth if I refuse to go to hospital.

    I know the vocab around it is a little scary (refusal, approval etc) but it's a decision to be taken on more than one factor and I would urge you to go with your instinct for a HB and then weigh things up as you go along. :)

  • BlackKat - Not answering the question but just FYI that an Alyesbury homebirth support group is current being setup. (My friend who runs the Leighton Buzzard homebirth group is helping to set it up). Do you want me to find the contact details for you?

  • Counter: that's reassuring to know. I know a lot of people in Aylesbury who have had home births who I'll reach out to once I've had my scan & can tell people & have read about people refusing to except no for an answer but not sure how hard it would be in reality.

    HorseFan: That'd be fab, would love to hear more about a local group & know at least 2 others who will be having homebirths in the coming months who might like to join too!

    Thank you all for your helpful comments I feel less panicked now as I don't want to limit my food for the babies sake but hopefully this will help me to eat healthily (well after my nausea has passed!!). Probably didn't help that I didn't have my booking until 9 weeks.

  • I thought it was just your BMI at booking in that they took into consideration for things like HB/water birth/ MLU? As someone else has said BMI measurement on a heavily pregnant woman is pointless.

    My BMI at booking was 30 point Something which risked me not being allowed to go to my local MLU despite giving birth their two years previous and being low risk for everything else. Probably a bit naughty but my MW just adjusted my height by 2cms which put me just under 30 BMI and no questions were asked!
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