The quickest answer to where is the best place to give birth would have to be ... Wherever you feel happiest!
The place where you will feel most calm and relaxed. Feeling calm and relaxed will support your awesome birthing hormones to release and increase your chances of birth flowing.
However its not always that straightforward. Another factor to bare in mind is whether or not you are making your decision based on accurate information that is researched based or on what you have heard maybe from friends and family and from society in general.
There is a huge misconception that birth at home is risky and this just isn't the case. If you are hoping for a calm and positive birth then the familar and relaxing surrounding of your home could be just what you need.
Maybe you would rather birth in a medical environment, but did you know that a Midwifery Led Unit (MLU) is a great option for many women looking for a home from home environment.
Of course it maybe that Delivery Suite in an Obstetric Unit is the best place for you to birth your baby, maybe you have an additional factor that requires some medical support, however even if this is the case its still worth checking out all your birthing place options as it may be that home or the MLU is a suitable option still.
So if you are choosing NHS Maternity Care you have a couple of options:
Home - Depending where in the country you are you may be supported by a dedicated Home Birth Team or by the local Community Midwives. There is usually a handful of Midwives and generally you will know them all, there are great benefits to birth outcomes when you know in person the Midwife who supports you in birth. Antenatal appointments are normally in your home.
Hospital (Labour Ward/ Delivery Suite) - You will see 1/2 midwives for your antental care usually in your GP Practice. It is unlikely you will know the Midwife who supports you during birth.
Midwifery Led Unit / Birth Centre (Freestanding or attached) - This really depend on where you live and if there is a MLU in your unit. There is usually a fairly rigid criteria that you need to fulfill to be able to use the MLU, however it is always worth haveing a conversation with the Head of Midwifery if this is where you would like to give birth but you don't meet the 'criteria'!
If you are choosing to opt out of NHS Maternity Care then maybe and independent Midwife would be the best person to support you. You can find out more here.
A great resource to support you in your decision is The Birth Place study.
In 2011, researchers reviewed the labours and births of 64,000 low risk women, which has given us an excellent resource when comparing and making a decision.
Based on the planned place of birth, researchers compared everything from interventions to adverse outcomes for baby; rates of tearing to rates of augmentation (speeding up labour.) You can read the full study here. This can be a helpful resource to include when deciding where to have your baby.
Here is a great review of the study by the charity AIMS, click here to read.