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  • Writer's pictureLynsey Adams

Notifying a Freebirth

Updated: Mar 7

a person stamps an official document. there is a pen and paper on the table.
The beginning of a lifetime of paperwork!

With an increasing number of women and families opting for freebirth, I’m here to provide you with all the info on notifying a baby's birth.

What is a Birth Notification?

A birth notification serves to inform the 'system' of the arrival of a new individual in the UK. This legally mandated document must be submitted within 36 hours of birth and initiates the local child health service authority's assignment of an NHS number.

If you have a midwife assisting with a home birth or if you give birth in a hospital, they will typically handle this process for you.

What if you choose to Freebirth?

In the case of an unassisted or freebirth, it becomes the responsibility of the mother, partner, or any present individual to notify the relevant services—with the explicit consent of the mother. It is advisable to conduct thorough research before the birth to avoid the stress of finding the necessary details on the actual day. Locating the correct Child Health Information Services (CHIS) for your area can be challenging, and local hospitals may not always provide these details due to automatic system submissions.

Required Information:

Who gave birth:

  • Full name

  • Address

  • Date of Birth (DOB)

  • NHS number (if known)

About the Baby:

  • Name (can be 'Baby' and the mother's surname if a name hasn't been decided; add the father's surname as an 'alternative' if intended for future use)

  • Date of Birth (DOB)

  • Time of Birth

  • Gestation at birth (weeks and days pregnant)

  • Sex of the baby

  • Weight

  • Ethnicity

  • Any suspected abnormalities (yes/no/unsure)

  • Birth order (this is “singleton”, unless you have twins or more, in which case you specify the order in which the babies arrived)

  • Live birth or stillbirth

  • Address of birth

Confirmation and Receiving the NHS Number:

  • Request confirmation of the notification

  • Await the reception of the baby's NHS number

Upon receiving the NHS number, congratulations! Your baby’s birth has been notified. You can now register them at your local registry office to get their birth certificate.

What if Issues Arise?

Occasionally, individuals within Child Health services may be unfamiliar with the legalities surrounding freebirth or unassisted births, making obtaining NHS numbers challenging. In such cases, reaching out to your local integrated care board, NHS England, or local authority is recommended. Alternatively, consulting an independent midwife, like myself, can be a supportive option for creating a plan during pregnancy to address any potential issues.

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