Where can I have my baby?

In Lothian, you have a number of options available for the birth of your baby. Your midwife, GP or consultant obstetrician will be happy to discuss these with you. They will support you to make the decision that is best for you and your baby.

Your options for birth are:

At home

Midwives from the community midwifery teams will care for you in labour and at the birth in your own home. In certain circumstances, which your midwife will discuss with you, you may need to be transferred to hospital.

In hospital

You have the choice of two hospitals – St John’s Hospital in Livingston or the Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health (Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh). Hospital midwives will care for you in labour and at the birth. Other healthcare professionals will also be there to assist if necessary.

Both hospitals offer a choice of pain relief including epidural and have aromatherapy and water birth facilities. Other equipment including birth balls, mats and pillows is available.

Both hospitals provide midwifery and obstetric care and have a special baby unit. The Simpson centre is the regional centre for complex pregnancy and childbirth and has a neonatal intensive care unit on site.

If either hospital is very busy you may be transferred to the other hospital, this is to ensure the safety of you and your baby.

St John's Hospital delivery suite upgrade - As part of NHS Lothian’s commitment to St John’s Hospital, the delivery suite is about to undergo an £1.7 million refurbishment. As a result, all the nine birthing rooms will have new en-suite facilities and three rooms will include birthing pools. The new delivery suite has been designed to provide increased privacy and dignity during the birth experience.


During the refurbishment the delivery suite has been relocated to ward 20 on the second floor of St John’s Hospital. The new delivery suite will open in spring 2014.

An information leaflet has been produced to help answer any questions mums-to-be, their partners and families might have about the refurbishment and temporary​ relocation. 


In the Lothian Birth Centre

This centre is based next to the Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health and offers a more homely environment. Midwives will care for you in one of the six birth rooms, each with its own birthing pool. Other equipment including birth balls, mats, aromastones and pillows is also available in every room.

A range of pain relief, such as aromatherapy, water or gas and air is available. If you decide that would like an epidural, this will not be available in the birth centre and you will need to opt for a hospital birth.

In certain circumstances, such as complications arising in labour, which your midwife will discuss with you, you may need to be transferred to hospital.

Other options 

Depending on where you live, you may want to ask your midwife about the possibility of having your baby in a hospital outwith Lothian.

Who can I bring with me?

In addition to the support that we offer, you can bring your partner and/or another friend or relative with you to provide support during labour.

When do I need to decide?

You can make the decision at any point during your pregnancy. Your midwife will talk to you about the different options available. As your pregnancy progresses your plans may need to change but again your Midwife will discuss this with you at the time.

Last Reviewed: 10/07/2013