Freestanding Midwifery Unit

Freestanding Midwifery units (FMU) are more comfortable and homely than a maternity unit in a hospital and are separate from a hospital, and do not have immediate obstetric, neonatal or anaesthetic care.

Advantages of a FMU unit include:

  • being in surroundings where you may feel more relaxed
  • being more likely to be looked after by a midwife you have got to know during your pregnancy
  • lower likelihood of having an intervention such as forceps or ventouse than women giving birth in hospital


There are some things to think about if you’re considering giving birth in a FMU.

You may need to be transferred to a hospital if there are any complications. The Birthplace study found that approximately 4 in 10 women having their first baby in a midwifery unit or birth centre were transferred to hospital, compared with approximately 1 in 10 women having their second or subsequent baby.

You won’t be able to have certain kinds of pain relief, such as an epidural.

Planning a birth in a FMU, questions you may need to ask:

Do I have any risk factors which may make birthing at an FMU unsuitable?

  • how long would it take if I needed to be transferred to hospital?
  • which hospital would I be transferred to?

Within our local maternity system, there is an FMU at Ingleside, Salford. Click here for more information